Water Pollution: ‘Land of Many Waters’ in danger of becoming historical footnote – GHRA

‘Land of Many Waters’ in danger of becoming historical footnote – GHRA

Gold-mining dredge

The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has commended the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for its prompt action in issuing five cease and desist orders against gold-mining dredges on the Puruni River.
GHRA said this would come with promises of similar actions against others in the coming weeks.

“The accompanying announcement that a ‘multi-dimensional solution to a complex problem’ will be developed in the coming weeks opens up opportunities for  development of a more sustained response to protecting the life of Guyana’s major river systems.  

Indications that the Ministry intends to include relevant civil society representation in this response are equally welcome,” the association said.
Mining officials, based on a report of GHRA, had been dispatched to the Puruni, Region Seven area, where several cease work orders were issued to river dredges and one land operation.

 

GHRA had complained of land pollution.

GHRA has warned of the importance of protecting the country’s fresh water supply.
“While mining is the most urgent danger posed to fresh water resources in Guyana, it is not the only source of concern in a country whose future has been defined by water since its inception. Aquifers–the underground source of water for coastal communities – are also shrinking and need to be supplemented.  The scale of the response must match the scale of the problem,” GHRA explained.

It was pointed out that other societies have manifested much more imagination and purposefulness- their starting-point being to recognize nature as a living being in need of legal protection similar to the respect afforded to human life.
Evidence of other approaches includes New Zealand, which in 2012 declared the Whanganui River to be a legal entity, ”having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities”.

The Whanganui Agreement aims “to ensure that all stakeholders and the river community as a whole are actively engaged in developing the long-term future of the river and ensuring its wellbeing.”

Two years later, an Indian court appointed three officials to act as legal custodians responsible for conserving and protecting the Ganges and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries.

Much earlier in 1972, the famous US Justice William O. Douglas argued for the conferral of standing upon natural entities so that legitimate legal claims could be made for their preservation.

GHRA noted that Bolivia is currently facing widespread water shortages due to the disappearance of glaciers.
“Guyanese society has been too complacent in failing to appreciate that our proudest boast, namely, of being the ‘Land of Many Waters’ is in danger of  becoming a historical footnote.  The transformational energies required to address this situation need to take many forms.”

GHRA urged a more purposeful climate action in Guyana.
“For example, the proposed constitutional reform process provides an opportunity for a stronger and more explicit constitutional protection for non-human and bio-diverse forms of life.”
Authorities have been battling to control the sometimes rough terrain in which miners have been conducting their operations but corruption and manpower have been proving a challenge.

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Comments

  • wakar hakiek  On May 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Guyana is more concerned writing and putting its nose in the affairs of wealthy nations .Guyana remains the poorest country in the world .

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