A fuel spill in the Ikaazupu Wao (Wao means creek) which runs within the Aishalton Village’s titled lands, has captured the attention of the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC).
The Council is gravely concerned about the pollution to the creek waters and the damage being done.
The Council which is a representative body for the 21 communities that make up the South Rupununi, received reports that on Wednesday October 10, last, a truck owned by V. Dalip Enterprise broke the Ikaazupu Wao Bridge. The breakage in the structure resulted in the truck toppling.
The vehicle was carrying over 100 barrels of fuel when the incident occurred and it is estimated that approximately 30 barrels of diesel fuel were spilled into the waters.
The creek is part of a connection of waterways as in flows into Tooto Wao, which in turn flows into the Kwitaro River. This particular ecosystem acts as the main water source for residents living in not only Aishalton Village but also Awarewaunau, Maruranau and Shea.
This fuel spillage occurring in these critical waterways will affect wildlife, hunting, fishing and the livelihoods at large of the people. Some may even get sick due to pollutants.
Project Coordinator of the SRDC, Kid James, expressed his concerns in relation to the damage that mining trucks and excavators are inflicting in the district. This fuel spillage provides just one example of the concerns raised just last week at the National Toshaos Conference, Kid James said.
He recommended that the government should review and improve its policies and laws that govern mining and how concessions are issued and to address the environmental, social, economic, human rights and the infrastructural impacts of mining.
They should also improve the enforcement of these laws and regulations in conjunction with the indigenous peoples, who are the ones mostly affected by the mining activities.
James’s statements were echoed by representatives and Toshaos of other communities and regions across the country. The final resolution of the NTC Conference reflected these concerns and included associated recommendations.
This latest catastrophe is an indicator that there should be effective development and implementation of the headwaters protection plan that was already agreed on by the Natural Resources Ministry and the SRDC.
This plan for the protection of the headwaters of the Kwitaro and Kuyuwini Rivers is currently under discussion by the Natural Resources Ministry and the SRDC.
It would ban mining in and near those rivers to preserve the health of the waterways.
The Council is looking forward to working with the Ministry to jointly develop and implement this important measure for the protection of the waters ways, the environment and the land.
The councillors are hoping that it will serve as a useful model for other communities in Guyana as they struggle with mining related issues.
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