The protection of the population from hazards, and the preservation of the environment from further degradation so that it can be transformed into a “green economy” is what A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is calling for.
This they posit is achievable through a national environmental strategy that the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic should implement.
Opposition Leader David Granger in a press briefing held recently at his office in Hadfield Street, said that “APNU is convinced that Guyana’s favorable geographical location, rich mineral and natural resources should be conducive to developing a ‘green economy’ – one that generates growth and human happiness in ways that are consistent with economic exploitation of those resources.”
Granger defined the green economy as one where sustainable social and economic prosperity, coupled with environmental security is achievable for the current generation to satisfy its needs without “jeopardizing the opportunity of future generations to satisfy theirs.”
According to Granger, there is a need for the establishment of a national environmental strategy that would focus on the major environmental issues plaguing the Guyanese populace.
He opined that “Guyana’s biggest problems are those of air and water pollution, deforestation, coastal zone conservation, flooding, marine litter, public health, solid waste management and damage to rivers and forests by poorly regulated mining and logging practices.
These are all harmful to the people’s health and well-being.”
Elaborating on the issues, Granger outlined that air pollution poses a serious health threat to residents living close to rice and saw mills, who inhale the dust and develop respiratory complications.
Providing an example he posited that “residents of the West Bank of the Demerara River in the mining town of Linden endured decades of dust pollution.
They have all called on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Health to investigate industries which discharge dust into the air.”
Granger added that Marine litter also constitute an environmental hazard because it consists of man-made material that does not decompose easily, when thrown into the Marine and coastal environment, and forms a buildup of waste. “
Evidence indicates that the vast majority of marine litter comes from land-based sources such as municipal landfills located near to the coast, riverine transportation, untreated municipal sewage, overflows from commercial agricultural and industrial facilities and recreational activities on the coast,” Granger established.
Speaking to the issue of public health, Granger emphasized that particularly within the interior regions; “reckless mining practices and water pollution” have contributed to the persistence of diarrhea, vector borne, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Due to the stagnant pits that have been abandoned, the prevalence of Malaria has risen. He said “Rivers are still the main, sometimes sole, source of fresh water for drinking, bathing, washing and for travelling to farms for hinterland communities, but the courses of some rivers have been altered by erosion and tailings from the mining industry. Residents have frequently complained of skin disorders after using river water.”
Meanwhile, on the issue of solid waste management Granger outlined that this area “remains the single, greatest challenge to people living in the city, towns, neighbourhoods and villages all over the country. Municipalities lack the resources to improve the collection and safe disposal of debris and waste,” he stated.
The opposition leader is convinced that the national environment strategy would help in formulating policies that would aid in curbing the environmental ills that exist, thereby guarantying a green economy, which he posits would be beneficial since it, would “generate more than enough wealth to transform the hinterland into a land of prosperity.
There could be enough money to finance the schools, security and infrastructure that are the foundations on which to build and equitable society.”
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