Coomacka to receive help for erosion, flooding issues

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 01, 2018   

The residents of the mining community of Coomacka, in Region Ten are relieved that the erosion and flooding issues affecting the community will be addressed in the near future.

This optimism comes after residents were told by Minister of State Joseph Harmon during his latest visit to Linden that the environmental issues the community are facing will be a thing of the past.

The virtually impassable Upper Demerara River.

Currently, the Demerara River running through the community, is almost impassable due to erosion. Years of unregulated mining resulted in aggregates being washed into the Demerara River from the mined-out holes, located some 15 feet above Coomacka, which sits in a basin below. A huge beach has been formed across the river bed, making it almost impossible to pass. Additionally, the community is prone to flooding. However, following some self-help work done by residents a few weeks ago, in preparation for the May/June rains, this has been temporarily avoided.

Minister Harmon said Conservation International and the World Wild Life Federation will be stepping in to collaboratively look at these environmental issues. “There is a project we are discussing that will make this something of the past”, he explained. Regional Chairman Renis Morian informed a task force was established by the government including the Ministry of Natural Resources and the National Drainage and Irrigation Agency to find a solution to the issue.  The body estimated that work to correct the issue with will cost approximately $55 Million.

Coomacka has been visited on numerous occasions by officials in an effort to bring an end to issues of flooding. It has approximately 2500 residents that are predominantly Amerindians and the river is not only used for transportation purposes, but also for domestic and recreational purposes including washing, fishing, swimming, bathing and sourcing water.

In addition, Harmon also pointed out that Coomacka, as well as other communities that have mined-out areas, will benefit from the International Solar Alliance Agreement (ISA). These mined-out areas, he said, allow for greater access for solar power on the ISA and can be converted to green tourism.

“The solar footprints of Linden are one of your greatest assets and this is something that we have to explore, and you have to understand there is a benefit there”, Harmon noted. “These mine-out areas that once served as de-motivators, we have now to recognise this as a positive”, he added.

By: Vanessa Braithwaite.

Images: Vanessa Braithwaite.