Hinterland pollution reports alarm APA
February 11, 2001
THE Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) is expressing concern about increased environmental pollution and its effect on Amerindian communities.
It said reports coming out from the communities and discussed at the organisation's first executive committee meeting for the year are "alarming".
At Chinese Landing, Region One (Barima/Waini), APA said a lot of mining activities are taking place within the village boundary.
"Pork-knockers who do not have any toilet facilities use anywhere available as a toilet, very often the river. A large operation owned by a non-resident of the village is further responsible for the silting and pollution of the Barama River. This company is responsible for sand tailings that wash back into the river."
APA said residents depend on the river for domestic use and at present there are many complaints of vomiting, diarrhoea, skin rashes and even sore mouth.
It noted the fish population is quickly reducing and residents cannot catch fish as they used to.
In Lower Waini, fishermen from Pomeroon and Mabaruma fishing for `black hassar' are reportedly dumping unwanted catch, usually dead fish, into the Waini River.
"Residents are not only concerned about the pollution, but also about the waste which is said to run into thousands of pounds," APA said.
In Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), there is also great concern for the condition of the Mazaruni River. APA said a lot of land dredging is being done along the river, especially between Jawalla and Imbaimadai. Kambaru is one of the villages mostly affected.
APA said mud is being washed into the rivers, causing silting and residents who use water from the Mazaruni River are also complaining of skin rashes, diarrhoea and vomiting.
"The navigation channels are being blocked by sand tailing that wash into the river. The fish life has depleted greatly and the communities are unable to catch fish as they once did. There have also been complaints about kidnapping and raping of Amerindian women and young girls from the villages," APA reported.
The association said previous complaints led to visits by Prime Minister Sam Hinds, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Environmental Protection Agency, but the situation remains the same and in some cases, has become worse.
In Region Eight (Potaro Siparuni), the Upper Potaro River is also being polluted because of mining by Brazilians at the confluence of the Kopinang and Potaro Rivers, APA said.
Like in the Upper Mazaruni and the Barama area, mud tailing is being washed into the river, making the water unusable for drinking and other domestic purposes. Apa reported that residents are tired of complaining to the GGMC.
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