The Environmental Protection Act, Cap. 20:05, bestows investigative and enforcement powers upon Officers of the EPA

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In executing the functions of the Environmental Protection Agency, there are several powers and protections conferred on authorised officers of the Agency while conducting investigations under the Act. Officers of the EPA are empowered to enter premises at any reasonable time to investigate any potential adverse effects on the environment and human health. Examinations and investigations by officers may be accompanied by the use of equipment or materials required to conduct assessments, measurements, testing, monitoring or to otherwise collect evidence such as photographs and environmental samples. The Act also empowers officers to dismantle and/or detain any article which may have caused or is likely to cause pollution of the environment.

Officers also have the right to require the production of statements, declaration of truths, and any records or documentation relevant to the investigation, including electronic data. Persons may also be required to afford such facilities and assistance to officers of the EPA necessary to facilitate the conduct of the investigation or examination. Moreover, officers are protected from civil or criminal liability for executing any of these functions in good faith under reasonable grounds. However, any interference, hindrance, assault or obstruction of an officer during the execution of his duty is an offence punishable by a fine of as much as three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000). Members of the public are therefore encouraged to ensure the authority of officers of the EPA are respected and maintained at all times; failing which, there may be legal consequences.

EPA conducts joint monitoring exercise with GGMC

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with representatives from the Guyana Geology and Mines (GGMC) conducted a Hydro-Sedimentological Survey from Devil Hole Landing to the confluence of the Cuyuni River, from Peima Falls to the confluence of Mazaruni River, and some tributaries of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers. The monitoring exercise, conducted during the period of January 12-21, 2021, comprised water quality testing for a number of parameters inclusive but not limited to turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, collection of physical water quality characteristics (flow rate, sediment logical regime etc.) and the distribution of questionnaires to riverine residents in order to assess their use of the fresh water resources.

The data collected was recorded and will be analysed and compared to data collected during previous monitoring exercises to determine whether there has been a change in water quality, or water availability/use in the area over the years and also to determine the impact mining and mining related activities are having on riverine communities.

This empirical evidence will aid EPA in the continued protection of aquatic habitats in the assessed areas as well as the health of persons who depend on the water source. As the Agency endeavours to execute its mandate, continuous monitoring assessments are scheduled.

 

The Environmental Annual Report - An Important Record/Account of Environmental Compliance

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The Annual Report is a once-per-year document that is mandatory for many organizations and a powerful tool for many more. While it can be tedious to assemble, it’s incredibly important. This single piece of communication presents a wealth of information about your organization to many different audiences. How those readers engage with that content affects their perceptions of your business in significant ways. (Wright, 1975)

The Environmental Protection Agency issues each project with an Environmental Authorization (Permits) to both new and existing projects. As part of the Permit conditions, the developer/ Permit holder is bound by the Section Compliance, Monitoring and Reporting of the Permit which states “Submit Environmental Annual Report to the EPA on or before March 31 every year on your compliance with this Permit”.  The purpose of this Environmental Annual Report is to inform the Agency formally whether the developer / Permit holder is compliant with the site-specific conditions set out in the Permit. Another document that is submitted along with the Environmental Annual Report, particularly for gas stations and mining operations is the water quality analysis results. The results of this analysis are very important as it informs the Agency, if the operation is releasing any harmful pollutant into surrounding waterways which can harm aquatic life and persons consuming the water.  When reviewing the Environmental Annual Report special attention is given to areas such as waste management, noise management, hazardous waste/ material management (specifically spills that may occurred in the environment), and compliance monitoring and reporting.  

Failure to submit Annual Reports is an offense for which the penalty is a maximum fine of eighty thousand dollars ($80,000), in accordance with Regulation 7(3) of the Environmental Protection (Authorizations) Regulations 2000. Further, failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the Operation Permit constitutes a breach of the Environmental Protection Act, Cap. 20:05, Laws of Guyana, which makes you liable to the penalties prescribed, including fines and imprisonment, as well as, other enforcement action: the suspension of your Environmental Authorization or the closure of your operation.

EPA conducts community consultations at Wellington Park Mangrove Reserve, Region 6, as part of the GEF CLME+ EBM Project

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On January 12 and 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted two consultations with community members, sawmill operators and representatives from the Skeldon Energy Inc. (SEI). On the first day, the EPA met with community members to discuss and gather information in developing the governance structure and management plan of the Wellington Park Mangrove Reserve.

The second consultation allowed for conversations between SEI and sawmill operators to strengthen their partnership in addressing sawdust waste and overall waste management along the Crabwood Creek area. At this meeting, community members were able to share their experiences working with the mangroves over the years. Members also shared recent observations of sawdust accumulation at the site.

Following the consultations, the Agency has scheduled a meeting with sawmill operators along the Crabwood Creek area for February 2021. The aim of this meeting is to discuss issues of erosion, and other environmental challenges sawmill operators are currently facing.

The EPA plans to invite the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), as well as representatives from the River and Sea Defense Department to attend this meeting. All COVID 19 guidelines will be adhered to.