Prompt action by EPA results in quick clean- up of fuel spill by polluter at Whim, Berbice.

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Any incident of crude oil and its associated products, such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc. being accidentally discharged into the environment is referred to as a spill. Occurrence of a spill incident requires prompt actions to prevent environmental destruction, however the cost to clean-up a spill is usually high.

While it is common to associate oil spills with oil drilling activities, it is important to understand that spills can happen in any industry that transports, handles or stores oil and fuel. This includes but is not limited to gas stations, power plants and automobile workshops.

The Environmental Protection Agency has responded to several small-scale oil spills in the past. Most recently, on December 08, 2020, officers at the EPA office in Whim, Berbice detected and immediately responded to a spill which occurred in the village. On the said date, the officers observed that fuel from fuel storage tank at a data tower had spilled onto the surrounding grass and soil. This information was quickly communicated to the EPA Georgetown Office which resulted in a collaborative effort between the two Offices to investigation the matter.

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EPA completes First Phase of the North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NBSLME) project at Wellington Park Mangrove Reserves

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On Friday 26, 2021, the Agency hosted a simple closing meeting for the NBSLME project with community members of Wellington Park at the EPA's Whim, Berbice Office. The event marked the successful completion of the first phase of the NBSLME project which entailed the mapping of key stakeholders and developing a Management Plan as it relates to restoring the Wellington Park Mangrove Reserves. In attendance were the twelve (12) community members who worked closely with the Agency in drafting the management plan and a governance framework.

The Management Plan provides key targets and indicator for restoring the site and the governance structure looked closely at engaging key stakeholders with responsibilities for mangrove governance in Guyana. The Coastal Marine Management Committee (CMMC) will serve as the overarching body to govern the site since all stakeholders responsible for mangroves sit on the Committee. Additionally, the Plan provides roles for community members in working towards achieving the goal of transforming the site into an eco-tourism destination.

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Revisiting Bartica during the COVID -19 pandemic

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Stone Quarry, Region 7

The unprecedented state of emergency caused by COVID-19 has impacted the operating environment of the Agency. During 2020, many of the compliance audits and site inspections were stalled within the COVID-19 hotspots and geographic regions, within which the majority of authorised mining operations exist. Audits of quarry operations, for example, within the Bartica Triangle were delayed until early January 2021, when the Mining Programme Area recommenced inspections and regularization of the operation processes and environmental management.

On February 19, 2021, officers visited Four Quarries, one operational and three proposed sites. The officers, while adhering to the COVID-19 protocols, were able to audit the St Mary’s Quarry situated on the left bank of the Essequibo River. The team audited the various operational aspects of the quarry and are working assiduously with the company to meet improved environmental management practices and mine control. It is the aim of the Mining Unit to boost monitoring efforts across these Quarry Licenses, to ensure the Agency’s directives and recommendations are implemented. Although the pandemic may have impeded regular monitoring exercises, the Unit will advance its mandate under recommended protocols and guidelines, thereby ensuring that environmental breaches are minimized.

 

World Wetlands Day 2021

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World Wetlands Day prize winner

Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on February 02. This year, World Wetlands Day was celebrated under the theme “Wetlands and Water”.  This year also marks the momentous 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Guyana is fortunate to have both coastal and inland wetlands in all ten (10) administrative regions. These wetlands filter water, prevent flood and help in soil erosion control. For many persons, wetlands were once thought of as useless swamps. But now, we know they are home to abundant fish and wildlife, as well as a valuable natural resource. To observe World Wetlands Day, the EPA planned activities to raise awareness and encourage action.

Along with our weekly newspaper articles, officers of the Agency were interviewed on Guyana Today (NCN Channel 11), highlighting the importance of wetlands and informing the public about planned activities, which included an Instagram exclusive quiz. This activity saw five (5) winners emerging, most of whom were from Region Four. This quiz encouraged persons to do research on wetlands and increased the number of followers on the Agency's Instagram account.

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