A new report reveals that Jamaica’s progress on public participation and access to information is inadequate despite having enacted laws and establishing governance structures to enable this. The published report is the outcome of a partnership between The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Windsor Research Centre, Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (CCAM) and the North Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Foundation to assess the state of access rights in Jamaica.
For years, residents in the Vaal Triangle, near Johannesburg, South Africa, complained of groundwater contamination from the nearby steel industry. Environmental activists with the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA) realized over a decade ago that having access to information about the industry’s environmental impacts would be essential in order to hold major polluters accountable for potentially illegal contamination.
Article by Celine Lim, Yale F&ES ‘15, originally posted on the Environmental Performance Index blog
An indigenous leader walks around the land, stopping at sites used for hunting, collecting nuts, and worship. The points are recorded using a handheld GPS device and then transferred to a computer. These points are overlaid with other land uses in the territory, and a map is produced. The map shows where oil-drilling sites are located on the same place as the community’s ancient burial ground, and where pollution from the oil operations runs through their main water source. The community now has evidence to make a case against the company. This scene was a novelty just a few years ago, but today, it is a reality for many communities around the world.