Stakeholders' perceptions of environmental and public health risks associated with hydrocarbon activities in and around the vasilikos energy center, cyprus

Eleni G. Kleovoulou, Corina Konstantinou, Andria Constantinou, Eelco Kuijpers, Miranda Loh, Karen S. Galea, Rob Stierum, Anjoeka Pronk, Konstantinos C. Makris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and aimThe Vasilikos Energy Center (VEC) is a large hydrocarbon industrial hub actively operating in Cyprus. There is strong public interest by the communities surrounding VEC to engage with all stakeholders towards the sustainable development of hydrocarbon in the region. The methodological framework of the exposome concept would allow for the holistic identification of all relevant environmental exposures by engaging the most relevant stakeholders in industrially contaminated sites. The main objectives of this study were to: (i) evaluate the stakeholders’ perceptions of the environmental and public health risks and recommended actions associated with the VEC hydrocarbon activities, and (ii) assess the stakeholders’ understanding and interest towards exposome-based technologies for use in oil and gas applications. Methods: Six major groups of stakeholders were identified: local authorities, small-medium industries (SMIs) (including multi-national companies), small-medium enterprises (SMEs), academia/professional associations, government, and the general public residing in the communities surrounding the VEC. During 2019–2021, a suite of stakeholder engagement initiatives was deployed, including semi-structured interviews (n = 32), a community survey for the general public (n = 309), technical meetings, and workshops (n = 4). Results from the semi-structured interviews, technical meetings and workshops were analyzed through thematic analysis and results from the community survey were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Almost all stakeholders expressed the need for the implementation of a systematic health monitoring system for the VEC broader area and its surrounding residential communities, including frequent measurements of air pollutant emissions. Moreover, stricter policies by the government about licensing and monitoring of hydrocarbon activities and proper communication to the public and the mass media emerged as important needs. The exposome concept was not practiced by the SMEs, but SMIs showed willingness to use it in the future as part of their research and development activities. Conclusions: The sustainable development of hydrocarbon exploitation and processing prospects for Cyprus involves the VEC. Continuous and active collaboration and mutual feedback among all stakeholders involved with the VEC is essential, as this may allow future environmental and occupational health initiatives to be formalized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13133
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Community risks
  • Environmental health
  • Exposome
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Industrially contaminated sites
  • Oil and gas
  • Petroleum
  • Public perceptions
  • Stakeholder consultation
  • Thematic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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