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PACOPAR - The Chemical Industry and the Community

June 2017

CUF, Dow Portugal, Air Liquide, Cires and APQ, together with APEC – the sector’s association, invited the Municipality of Estarreja, local firemen, the national guard, the local hospital and health authorities, schools, the University of Aveiro and a few parish councils, to establish PACOPAR – Community Advisory Panel of the Responsible Care Programme of Estarreja.

The adventure started in 2001 when the companies of the chemical complex of Estarreja decided to show their engagement with the international responsible care commitment that they had signed and which guided all their internal activity.

 

CUF - known as Quimigal at the time, Dow Portugal, Air Liquide, Cires and APQ, together with APEC – the sector’s association, invited the Municipality of Estarreja, local firemen, the national guard, the local hospital and health authorities, schools, the University of Aveiro and a few parish councils, to establish PACOPAR – Community Advisory Panel of the Responsible Care Programme of Estarreja.

 

The first years were intense. Initiatives and events have multiplied, and recognition came not long after.

 

The mission of Pacopar is to demystify the dangers of the chemical industry in Estarreja. Based on a policy of transparency and openness with regard to the community, it seeks to raise young people’s awareness to the benefits of science and improve the quality of life of Estarreja, promoting sustainable development. This requires a trusting relationship with the community.

 

Plenary meetings are the heart of Pacopar. All partners participate and contribute with critical suggestions, which lead to the decisions that will be developed by the working groups and later implemented within the community.  The daily work of Pacopar is riveting. The panel is organised into groups - communication, risk prevention, environmental groups. From the work of these groups will emerge different actions. Actions such as those that mobilised thousands of primary and secondary school students from the whole region of Estarreja, to raise awareness to chemistry and science, which gave rise to the Pacopar Quiz, created in partnership with Science4U and which was turned into a innovating App; or, another App, TrekkingBioRia, which helps to spread the national heritage of the region.

 

Access to this application could not be easier. It is free and available on Apple and Android online stores. The App shows the 8 walking trails of Salreu: where they start, which landscapes they cross, their levels of difficulty; users have also access to more than 200 individual sheets describing the fauna and flora of the marshy Lower Vouga region, and all the mammals, amphibians, birds and plants that can be watched when walking the trails.

 

With gestures such as these and specific initiatives, the chemical companies of Estarreja show their commitment to their surrounding communities. 

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