Dust pollution continues at Cane Grove
The Alliance For Change (AFC) said it will be pursuing complaints again from residents of Cane Grove, East Coast Demerara, about dust pollution from a nearby rice mill.
According to a release from the AFC, a team comprising its Vice-Chairman, Moses Nagamootoo; executive member Gerhard Ramsaroop; and representatives from East Coast of Demerara, Lenny Singh and Kojo McPherson, recently visited the area again on the invitation of the residents. The residents were lamenting the continued problems they are facing with dust emanating from a nearby rice mill for a few years now, AFC said yesterday in a release on the visit. “Residents again showed the AFC their homes, with the dust being evident everywhere. They are forced to keep their windows locked, but even that does not keep the dust out. Many complained of respiratory ailments and itchy skin. One person even brought out her children who she said were asthmatic as a result of the dust.
Another resident, Jasoda Abdool, claimed she had to buy a blower to help control the dust in her yard. However, that was not the end of her story. She was born and bred in Cane Grove, and after spending 24 years in the United States, she and her husband came back to retire here. They built a beautiful home that they said they cannot enjoy now, and which has lost its value because of the operations of the rice mill.”
“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), inexplicably, is taking a soft stance on the issue including referring to residents as squatters. The residents in the immediate vicinity of the rice mill are not squatters, but mainly the descendants of the sugar workers who were given the lands of the old sugar estate that was closed in 1947. Moreover, there is at least one documented case of the EPA requiring a sand pit operator to sign an agreement with squatters before it would grant its environmental permit,” AFC said. The party claimed that the rice miller is taking advantage of the people in Cane Grove, many of whom work there. In addition, the mill also supplies fertilizer to many of the residents who are rice farmers.
According to the AFC, other rice millers who similarly operate where people live, including one nearby across from the Mahaica market, have had to install dust collection systems.
The party said it was also shown documents indicating no environmental permit was granted to the offending rice miller, neither was permission granted to erect additional silos.
The AFC expressed disgust that “these flagrant breaches are being tolerated for so long” and that despite numerous promises by various entities the situation remains the same.
The party said that Anil Nandlall, now the Attorney General, had been retained by the residents some years ago, but according to them, has long not communicated anything on the status of the legal proceedings.
“The AFC remains committed to the powerless and downtrodden people of Guyana and is renewing its call for the relevant authorities to remedy the situation soonest.”