Bina Hill students benefit from EPA’s Environmental Authorization workshop

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─ students commend efforts by EPA

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, January 19, 2019

Students from the Bina Hill Institute along with forest operators from Region 9 all benefitted from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workshop. The workshop was aimed at sensitizing those utilizing the forest, on the need to obtain an environmental authorization from the EPA.

Helen Lawrence a Tourism student at the institute said that she strongly agrees with the efforts of the EPA as she had no clue of the environmental authorization. Lawrence said “pertaining to the environment I think it is good because in the tourism sector in which I am interested. I like the fact that they would reduce pollution and it would not affect the environment.”

The EPA is working assiduously to have all forest operators authorised in keeping with Section 14 of the Environmental Act.

The act states that: “before harvesting and utilising forest resources, an operator must first seek permission from the Environmental Protection Agency.”

That permission is the Environmental Authorisation which not only seeks to protect the environment, but also the health of the those involved.

Gaymon Edward, who is also a student of the institute, welcomed the workshop and expressed his belief that more young people should get involved as it was very enlightening. “Everybody should be aware of it, like NGOs and who wants to go into the forestry sector. I know a lot of people are interested in it but they do no know the steps to take so, I strongly agree with what they (EPA) is doing.”

Senior Environmental Officer, Karen Small said that despite the workshop was aimed at forest operators, she was delighted that the students were integrally involved. “It was a pleasure for us because they are the future generation and they are also forestry students so, it’s even a better opportunity for us as we were looking at forest operators to give them an opportunity to build their capacity, so they can carry on in our absence what we would have taught them” Small stated.

During the workshop, participants were given an in-depth presentation which explained the Environmental Authorisation, why it is important to have one, where to apply for one and how to fill out the requisite forms. Aside from the theoretical aspect of the session, they were also taken to a nearby sawmill for a first-hand view on how to protect themselves and the environment. The operators were very vocal throughout the workshop, asking questions to ensure that they have clarity on the way forward.

The Environmental Authorisation application process costs $10,000 (US$50) and once approved $20,000 (US$100) per year. Alternatively, operators may apply for a maximum environmental authorisation at $100,000 (US$500) for five years.

The outreaches also focus on sensitising forest operators about the European Union/Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU/FLEGT) agreement with Guyana, to protect the environment. Hence, the move by the EPA, to get all forest operators on board with best environmental practices in order to mitigate any negative impact, which may result from their actions, on the environment.

The EPA, throughout 2019, will be conducting similar workshops countrywide to encourage more forest operators to be authorised.

Isaiah Braithwaite

Images: Karime Peters


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