Miners urged to use best practices while working near waterways

DPI, GUYANA, Monday, July 17, 2017

Region One miners were urged to be cognizant that their mining techniques do not affect the region’s waterways.

Addressing a gathering of residents including miners, in Mabaruma last week, Managing Director of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Richard Van-West Charles, took the opportunity to underscore the importance of protecting the country’s waterways from the risk of pollution from mining. This, he noted is critical to securing the future of the younger generation.

Managing Director, GWI, Dr. Richard Van-West Charles.

“You don’t want to have a situation whereby people are using all sorts of chemicals and methods to extract the gold and at the end of the day, your young people are going to be left with a number of issues which are costly to remedy. So, the protection of the environment and the waterways in relation to your lands is very, very critical,” Dr. Van West-Charles explained.

Dr. Van-West Charles encouraged the miners to seek advice for best practices for working near water. The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC,) he pointed out is one of the agencies that can lend assistance.

The Managing Director stated that, “There are a plethora of examples globally how many people have left land barren and impacted negatively on the environment, on their own water ways, on their own fish life, the flora, the fauna, so you got to begin to think ahead about sustainable development and the generations of your own that are going to come and what is the legacy you leave for them.”

According to Dr. Van-West Charles, GWI has also been playing its role by conducting its outreaches and educating persons on safe mining practices.

Mining, though a lucrative industry, has several negative impacts on the environment and can be devastating if not conducted in a safe manner. When mining is done near water sources the risk of metal contamination and increased sedimentation levels are very high.

To mitigate the effects of the mining on the waterways, GWI has also been distributing Jerrycans, to hinterland communities that are most affected by this phenomenon.  These Jerrycans are designed to instantly sterilise untreated water, for consumption, without the use of chlorine.

Jerrycans were distributed in Mabaruma and in Kamarang, Region Seven. The community of Kamarang recently suffered from a diarrhoeal outbreak. It was suspected that the river water which is used by the residents for drinking and domestic purposes was contaminated.

 

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

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