The oil complex, Petrochemical and Industrial General Jose Antonio Anzoategui, located just outside the city of Barcelona in the east of the country, has registered environmental damage and an increased of respiratory diseases in its surroundings.
The area has been affected because the 15,000 tons of coke (fuel) produced there every day is being stuck in storage yards, as a consequence of the usual mechanism used for the transfer is now damaged and has not been repaired for lack of funds, according to an official source of the oil industry (PDVSA in spanish).
The coke, a byproduct generated from the oil refining process, that can be taken advantage for energy purposes. But its high content of sulfur and other elements, in industrial quantities, can cause health and environmental problems.
The increase in the accumulated material caught the attention of the inhabitants of the area. Many of them have complained to the regional media, which outlines that people have to live in an environment filled with a black dust, which smell, emanating from plants near their homes.
According to environmental experts, these particles that are in the air and which are raised when running the sea breeze, should undergo an evaluation to detect the size and thus know how dangerous they are.
“The critical size of these particles is 10 microns. Here is the first problem and therefore we must know its size, while smaller ones are, even worse, because they can easily enter into the respiratory tract,” he says.
The second problem is that the coke has high values of vanadium and nickel, which are “a threat to the environment and generate high levels of pollution in the air”
Members of the Committee of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change of the National Assembly are interested in evaluating the ecological consequences of the situation because they have already received some formal complaints.
Manuel Briceño, vice president of the commission, said the need for an evaluation with the Committee on Energy and Petroleum and Science, Technology and Innovation, to assemble working groups where they can be stakeholders and competent authorities.
“It is the Ministry of Environment which should tracking and monitoring the situation. We do what we can and try to put on the table the real nature of the problem and evaluate possible solutions” said to the media.
Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA24