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.