Assessing environmental impacts in the Gulf of Paria, Trinidad, an examination of technological applications and data availability

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Lougheide, Danya L.
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This study focused on issues and problems of assessing the environmental impact of the Pt. Lisas Industrial Estate on the Greater Couva area in Trinidad. The study had three focal points. First, it documented the chronological changes in land-use/land-cover and coas al vegetation patterns over a period of 25 years from 1962 to 1986; second, it analyzed the impacts of industrialization on this coastal environment; third, it evaluated the issues affecting environmental assessments in Trinidad. These focal points were developed in a number of ways. Aerial photography and ground truthing contributed to the development of a land-use/land-cover classification based on the Anderson Classification (Andeson, 1976). This classification accommodated all land-cover classes represented in the Greater Couva region, and made it possible to create (land-use/land-cover) audit maps. These maps were then introduced into a computer based Geographic Information System (GIS) to perform various Overlay and Time Series Analysis techniques. Changes were observed for the region in the interim years from 1962-1980, and 1980-1986, with major changes in the following land-use categories: residential; industrial; agricultural; mangrove; eclaimed land; and transport networks. These changes were then analyzed to ascertain their relationship to the Pt. Lisas Industrial Estate, while also taking into account impacts resulting from physical changes, such as population increase, pollution, fisheries, and the effects of dredging and reclamation. In establishing the potential for aerial photography, photogrammetry and GIS, in examining environmental impact assessment, this research also highlighted the problems of sparse and limited data.