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Searching for pollution in the Caribbean
Date:5/5/2009

nical Cooperation, had been supporting this regional project since 2007. Docked officially under the code RLA/7/012, the formal title of the project is Use of Nuclear Techniques to Address the Management Problems of Coastal Zones in the Caribbean Region. Twelve Caribbean countries participate in the project Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. France and Spain provide additional technical and financial support. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are also active partners in the project.

Concern over the growing incidence of pollution in the Caribbean has been on the rise, as it has the potential to affect livelihoods dependent on fishing and tourism. The UNEPs regional centre in the Caribbean had done extensive study of pollution in the Caribbean Sea, compiling a list of sites in the Caribbean having high pollution levels. UNEPs list served as the basis for identifying the projects areas of study. Puerto Cortes, as one of Central Americas major seaports, was among the sites selected.

Role of Nuclear Techniques

Tracking and understanding the sources of pollution in the Caribbean requires a high degree of scientific experience and know-how. The IAEA operates one of the worlds leading centres for marine environmental protection, the Monaco-based Marine Environment Laboratory (IAEA-MEL). The laboratory applies nuclear techniques to research, document pollution and other marine problems, and technically assists States facing threats to their seas and coastal waters. With its involvement, the Caribbean project was underway.

"Nuclear techniques are effective diagnostic tools for tracing sources of contaminants," says Joan Albert Sanchez-Cabeza, a physicist who heads the Radiometrics Laboratory in the IAEAs laboratories in Monaco.

The analysis focus on three types of contam
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Contact: Rodolfo Quevenco
r.quevenco@iaea.org
43-126-002-1287
International Atomic Energy Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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