EMA monitors red river report

As it con­tin­ued to mon­i­tor the Oropouche Riv­er, near the Dig­i­ty Mud vol­cano site, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­i­ty (EMA) is­sued a stern warn­ing that peo­ple who pol­lute the na­tion’s rivers can be fined up to $100,000.

The riv­er turned red last week­end, ac­cord­ing to the care­tak­er of the Dig­i­ty Mud vol­cano site Rakesh Ram­per­sad but by the time EMA in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rived, the con­t­a­m­i­na­tion had dis­ap­peared.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the EMA said fol­low­ing the so­cial me­dia post and re­ports of the pres­ence of a red­dish/pink sub­stance in the Oropouche Riv­er, in­ves­ti­ga­tions were done in the vicin­i­ty of the Dig­i­ty Mud Vol­cano site.

“The EMA team ex­am­ined the riv­er from sev­er­al van­tage points, both up­stream and down­stream and did not ob­serve any ev­i­dence of red­dish/pink dis­coloura­tion of the riv­er wa­ter,” the au­thor­i­ty said.

The EMA said it re­mains in con­tact with the Pe­nal/Debe Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion and both en­ti­ties will con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor this sit­u­a­tion.

“The EMA al­so re­minds the pub­lic of its re­spon­si­bil­i­ty un­der Sec­tion 37:05 (70) of the EM Act, that “any per­son who through the re­lease or han­dling of any pol­lu­tant or haz­ardous sub­stance, or the arrange­ment for an­oth­er per­son through any con­tract or oth­er agree­ment to re­lease or han­dle any pol­lu­tant or haz­ardous sub­stance, know­ing­ly or reck­less­ly en­dan­gers hu­man life or health, com­mits an of­fence, and is li­able on con­vic­tion on in­dict­ment, to a fine of one hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars and im­pris­on­ment for two years.”

The au­thor­i­ty al­so said that “any per­son who know­ing­ly or reck­less­ly un­der­takes or con­spires to al­low any ac­tiv­i­ty in an “en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly sen­si­tive area” or with re­spect to an “en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly sen­si­tive species” des­ig­nat­ed un­der sec­tion 41, which may have an ad­verse im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment with­in such area or on such species, com­mits an of­fence and is li­able, on con­vic­tion on in­dict­ment, to a fine of one hun­dred thou­sand and im­pris­on­ment for two years.”

Chair­man of the Cor­po­ra­tion Dr Allen Sam­my said the riv­er is heav­i­ly pol­lut­ed.

“Peo­ple throw all sorts of things in that riv­er and we are do­ing our own in­ves­ti­ga­tions to de­ter­mine what hap­pened,” he said.

On Sun­day, Ram­per­sad said the riv­er ran red once be­fore but it was not as vivid as the colour seen last week­end. He said on Sun­day, the red­dish colour had washed away fol­low­ing heavy rains.

 - by Radhica De Silva. 

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