Pretroleum concession of Bona island continues between environmental protection claims

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During weeks, Bona Island, a land area of 74 hectares in the Pacific Ocean of Panama, has been the focus of a battle of powers in Panama.

Today, the island located 10 nautical miles from Taboga Island, is more important owing to the interest to convert it in a petroleum terminal.

On April 4th, the National Economic Council (CENA) approved the partial lease of Bona Island for the construction of a petroleum terminal, with an investment of 140 million dollars, according to a press release of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

This situation has led protests and recollection of signatures to avoid what it is classify as an “environmental threat”.

BONA PACIFIC CORP: “The project will lead Panama to a competitive environment”

The company BONA PACIFIC CORP. defends its project in Bona Island, as they insist that it “would raise Panama towards a regional competitive environment”.

According to the company, the location of Bona Island is an advantage for the construction of the terminal, as it is between the current navigation routes to the Panama Canal. Also, it will operate as an Attention Center for deep-sea vessels that do not have ports on the pacific side of the Panama Canal.

HOTELIERS PROTEST THE CONCESSION

The Panamanian Hotel Association (APATEL) rejected the possibility to establish the petroleum terminal in Bona Island.

The Guild affirms that the location, parallel to the direct and irreversible ecological damage the project can cause to this important natural resource, supposes a permanent and irreparable threat to the environment, as Bona Island is in front of panamanian pacific beaches and could originate primarily accidents due to its proximity to tourist projects and residences. 

ENVIRONMENTALISTS CALL FOR PROTECTION OF THE BONA ECOSYSTEM

At the end of 2018, the Smithsonian Institute recommended the protection of the island after conducting studies of the biodiversity present on it. The scientific center determined that the island is a nesting and breeding site for thousands of tropical marine birds.

Despite pressure from different ecologists, as well as from the Smithsonian Institute, the Ministry of Environment has not responded yet in relation to the possible constructions in Bona Island; meanwhile environmental associations and different civil society groups work closely together to protect the island and elevate it into Wildlife Refuge.

TRANSLATION: Marielys Barrea +507 6207-6595

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