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Haiti - FLASH : Gas stations in residential areas, a danger to health
20/05/2019 08:31:46

Haiti - FLASH : Gas stations in residential areas, a danger to health
The Office of Citizen Protection (OPC) is sounding the alarm over the proliferation of gas stations in residential areas, becoming a public health problem.

The OPC draws the attention of the Ministries of Public Health, the Environment and local authorities to the fact that various studies carried out around the world, show that the "benzene", in particular contained in gasoline, would be a factor risk of developing leukemia and that a child whose family home is in the immediate vicinity of a petrol station is four times more likely to develop leukemia because of "benzene hydrocarbon levels n-hexane in air, higher in areas close to pumps, especially during refueling where its polluting compounds are released into the atmosphere."

Faced with this situation in order to ensure respect for the human rights and environmental framework principles according to which States should "ensure a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in order to respect and protect human rights and to give them effect" the OPC suggests to the Haitian State to take into account the numerous scientific studies which all conclude" not to build a service station near school housing, nursery, houses pension or hospitals.

The OPC recommends to the Haitian State :

  • Take the necessary steps to immediately stop any current or future construction of service stations in areas deemed to be residential or close to housing, school, nursery, retirement home or hospitals;
  • Establish gas station building standards at a distance of at least 300 meters from the nearest dwelling;
  • To require the express authorization of these three authorities before any construction of service station, after checking the respect of the standards, in particular that of the distance from with the housing, by the competent service of each of the 3 authorities concerned ;
  • Apply in its entirety the Declaration adopted by the Rio de Janeiro Conference in June 1992, in particular Principle 10 which proclaims that "The best way to deal with environmental issues is to ensure the participation of all concerned citizens, at the appropriate level ";
  • Apply the good practices referred to in Article 2, paragraph 5 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, adopted in Aarhus on 25 June 1998, which states: "“The public concerned” means the public affected or likely to beaffected by, or having an interest in, the environmental decision-making; forthe purposes of this definition, non-governmental organizations promotingenvironmental protection and meeting any requirements under national law shallbe deemed to have an interest".

The Office of Citizen Protection emphasizes that the implementation of these recommendations will enable the Haitian population to evolve in an atmosphere conducive to the fulfillment and enjoyment of their rights to health and a healthy environment.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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