Environmental

Welcome to Our Department

The mission of the Environmental Unit is to ensure sustainable development within the Port Area on the island of Grand Bahama by fair and consistent governance and enforcement of environmentally related national laws, local bye-laws, guidelines and best management practices that pertains to the management of natural resources, social equity and development.

The main goal of this group is to effectively manage, conserve and protect the natural environment of the area governed by the GBPA, through the:

  • a) development of appropriate regulations and standards under the Freeport Bye-laws for environmental management and enforcement;
  • b) provision of environmental review and oversight to new and existing development/operations; and the
  • c) promotion of an atmosphere for sustainable planning and development with ecological considerations within the GBPA jurisdiction.

The Environmental Group Mission Statement:

To ensure sustainable development within the Port Area on the island of Grand Bahama by fair and consistent governance and enforcement of environmentally related national laws, local bye-laws, guidelines and Best Management Practices that pertains to the management of natural resources, social equity and development.

The Group holds to the following guiding principles:

  • To work for the well-being of all citizens in the jurisdiction of the GBPA and consistently take the island of Grand Bahamas' interest and it's changing needs into consideration when making decisions;
  • To seek a steady improvement in the provision of information and services through ingenuity, integrity and proficiency;
  • To conscientiously cultivate and strengthen relationships with those government and non-government agencies involved in environmental management; and
  • To explain and publicize the policies and activities of the environmental group to the GBPA group of companies/subsidiaries and the public at large.

 Levels of Environmental Management/Oversight:

  • Heavy and Light Industry
  • Resort/Commercial Development
  • Municipal/Residential (Advisory role to the City Services Group as needed)

Areas of Focus and Activities:

Environmental Policy and Standards:

  • Identify emerging environmental issues requiring policy or standards.
  • Establish ambient environmental quality objectives.
  • Develop non-binding guidelines, codes or best management practices.
  • Develop an environmental levy policy and establish levy rates, as well as permitting fee structure

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)/Environmental Management Plan (EMP):

Based on land, coastal zone, and fresh water resource inventories, identify:

  • Unique/sensitive natural areas requiring conservation - no development
  • Appropriate areas for development
  • Appropriate areas for recreation
  • Review EIAs and EMPs prepared by project proponents.
  • Inspect stages of development and post development/construction for compliance.
  • Issue a 'permit to operate' with additional conditions if needed.

Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement

  • Review monitoring reports from project operators.
  • Evaluate the monitoring of ambient environmental quality, environmental emissions or performance of specific projects to ensure compliance with Environmental Permit to Operate conditions or other environmental requirements.
  • Investigate complaints/incidents.

Emergency Preparedness

  • Review proposed projects from standpoint of emergency response and provide comments (during EIA process).
  • Develop guidelines for environmental disaster prevention.
  • Set emergency preparedness conditions for environmental clearances.
  • Inspect sites for environmental emergency preparedness.
  • Arrange/coordinate responses to environmental emergencies.

Environmental Awareness and Outreach

  • Develop, present and distribute information about environmental issues for various target audiences.
  • Participate and organize environmental initiatives for the general public.
 

Download Environmental Bye Laws (Proposed)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When was the Environmental Department formed?

A: The Environmental Department was formed in March 2006

Q: What are the main areas of focus of the Environmental Department?

A: The main areas of focus include:

  • Developing and regulating environmental policies and standards;
  • Reviewing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)/Environmental Management Plans (EMP);
  • Engaging in environmental monitoring and enforcement; and
  • Coordinating environmental awareness and outreach programmes.

Q: Does the Environmental Department have any guiding principles

A: The following guiding principles:

  • To work for the well-being of all citizens in the jurisdiction of the GBPA and consistently take the island of Grand Bahamas' interest and it's changing needs into consideration when making decisions;
  • To seek a steady improvement in the provision of information and services through ingenuity, integrity and proficiency;
  • To conscientiously cultivate and strengthen relationships with those government and non-government agencies involved in environmental management; and
  • To explain and publicize the policies and activities of the Environmental Department to the GBPA group of companies/subsidiaries and the public at large.

Q. Are there any environmental regulations governing the Port Area?

A. The Environmental Department has proposed a set of Environmental Bye-laws, which have been submitted to the Government for its consideration.

Q. What do the Proposed Environmental Bye-laws address?

A. Pollution Prevention and Waste Management - Pollution Prevention Plan, Ambient Limits, Hazardous Material and Waste Management etc.

  • Natural Resources Protection & Management - Coastal Resources, Native Vegetation, Wetlands, and Freshwater Resources.
  • Environmental Management and Protection - Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Approvals, Environmental Monitoring and Inspections, Environmental Incidents, Accidents and Emergencies.
  • Nuisances - Noise, Odour, Visual etc.
  • Additional Clauses to existing Bye-laws - Sewage Management, removal of refuse -construction debris, abandoned or inoperable vehicles etc.

Q. What have been the main issues that the Environmental Department has had to address since its inception?

  • Improper Waste Disposal Practices such as: Indiscriminate Dumping, Unkempt Premises, and Derelict Vehicles.
  • Nuisances: Odour
  • Health and Sanitation Issues
  • Industrial Monitoring

Q. Are there any opportunities for recycling in Freeport?

A. Under the Environmental Department, a 'Used Oil Recycling' programme was started in May 2007. There are currently three official collection depots: Freeport Jet Wash, AID, and Municipal Motors. Once the used oil is collected, arrangements have been made with VOPAK to assist in transporting the used oil to their facility for blending purposes. Additionally, in January 2008, a pilot project was initiated with four local schools (Jack Hayward High, Tabernacle Baptist Academy, Hugh Campbell Primary and Lucayan International School) for the collection of aluminum cans for recycling. Other waste streams will be looked at in the future.

Q. What environmental outreach programmes have the Environmental Department initiated?

A. The main programme initiated to date by the Environmental Department is the 'Keep Grand Bahama Clean' (KGBC) initiative.

Q. What is the main focus of Keep Grand Bahama Clean?

A. The KGBC programme focuses on educating the wider community on the importance of achieving and/or maintaining a healthy environment. The activities are geared primarily to: school visitations and presentations; community - walk-abouts; publication of environmental messages in the daily news; and the production and distribution of environmental literature.

Q. Who makes up the Keep Grand Bahama Clean Committee?

A. The Committee is an Inter-Agency Committee comprised of public and private entities such as: Sanitation Services, The Department of Environmental Health Services, The Ministry of Tourism, Local Government/City Councils, The Urban Renewal Programme, Local Media Houses and The Paint Fair Company.

Keep Grand Bahama Clean

In October 2006, The Grand Bahama Port Authority's Environmental Department along with other public and private sector organizations launched the Keep Grand Bahama Clean Initiative. To date, organizations such as the Urban Renewal Programme, Department of Environmental Health Services, Local Government/City Councils, Ministry of Tourism, Sanitation Services, Bahamas National Trust, Local Media Houses, The Paint Fair Company and Interested Residents have been enthusiastically partnering with the GBPA's Environmental Department to promote the Keep Grand Bahama Clean agenda.

The resounding message of KGBC is that "it's everyone's business and everyone's responsibility to Keep Grand Bahama Clean: our lifestyles, our economy, and our future depend on it". The KGBC programme focuses on educating the wider community on the importance of achieving and/or maintaining a healthy environment. The activities are geared primarily to: school visitations and presentations; community - walk-abouts/designation of best kept yards/clean-ups; publication of environmental messages in the daily news; and the production and distribution of environmental literature.

The ‘KGBC' campaign makes it their single focus that a clean and healthy environment should not only be a choice but a way of life. The major clean up campaign not only focuses on the collection of loose garbage but its key focus is the removal of bulk waste and derelict vehicles.

The anticipated outcome of the programme is the realization of a sustainable initiative, which results in residents having a greater awareness and regard for their actions or lack thereof towards the environment, in all communities on Grand Bahama Island. The KGBC philosophy advocates that keeping our environment clean and beautiful, should be a way of life, always remembering, that our actions today, affect the health and wealth of our people and our natural resources now, and for generations to come.

 

Download Environmental Bye Laws (Proposed)

ABOUT GBPA


The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) gave GBPA responsibility for the development, administration and management, and provision of services within an area called the 'Port Area' (230 sq. miles). GBPA was mandated by this Agreement to build a deep water harbour, an industrial community and required infrastructure for the City.

Read More...

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE


GBPA has achieved an astonishing amount since its inception in 1955.  When first created it was a Grand Bahamian business conglomerate charged not only with land and commercial development but also with all the regulatory and administrative functions of the Freeport/Lucaya.

Read More...

THE WAY FORWARD


Firstly, I wish to thank Joan Albury and the Counsellors for this platform enabling us to share with the Grand Bahama community, the outlook for our island! 2015 marks the 60th year of the birth of Freeport and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement; 60 years of a partnership between The Government of The Bahamas and The Grand Bahama Port Authority. I'm here to raise hopes for 2015 and to lay a few popular myths to rest - For those who don't know me, I am Sarah St George.

Read More...