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World Environment Day walk not all eco-friendly

GREEN WALK, Garbage pile: Participants on World Environment Day walk on Church Street. In the foreground is one of several piles of garbage in the Georgetown.

As hundreds of Guyanese marched through the streets of Georgetown to observe World Environment Day later this week, they could not help pass the piles of uncollected garbage and clogged drains.

Although the focus on June 5 is on reducing food waste under the theme “Think, Eat Save, Reduce Your Food Print”, two residents of Albert Street, Alberttown confronted Minister of the Environment, Robert Persaud about the clogged drains and alley that have made  her yard and surrounding areas “toxic” and a mosquito haven.

“Help, help, my back yard is a toxic mess,” and “Mr President, the smell from this alley is in my bedroom,” read the placards. Rose Clarke complained bitterly about the condition of her surroundings. “My backyard is a mess. I have a young grandbaby just nine days old. I cannot do anything. I cannot even wash. Mosquitoes in the house, all over the place because the alley full and they not cleaning the drains,” she told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).

“I cannot tell the last day they clean the alley so I am suffering badly here,” she said, adding that she has appealed to the pest control section, City Hall and the President all without redress.

Persaud assured the resident that he would ask the Georgetown Municipality to pay attention to the area. In the National Park, he referred to his encounter with the resident and said her plight was part of a larger problem of local governance.

“That certainly speaks to the frustration, but you have that power, you have that authority to ensure that those who are in charge at the local level that they also support the efforts that we have a very clean and healthy environment,” he told a World Environment Day Rally.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Guyana, Robert Kopecky described the garbage situation in Georgetown as a “little scar”. Referring to the Western Nations’ “Guyana Shine” and the Guyana government’s “Pick It Up Guyana,” campaigns, Kopecky highlighted progress that is being made. “One can see the progress since it was launched a little bit over a year ago but one cannot be so satisfied and I hope that when we gather here next year, we will be much more satisfied because our planet earth simply deserves this,” he said.

Persaud charged residents of the city and elsewhere to “tidy up” and “clean up Guyana” by further reducing the piles of garbage. “I do hope that you will take back the message… While the overall theme is ‘Think, Eat and Save’… take it to your homes, take it to your parents, take it to when you travel in the minibuses  or wherever you go that you take a stand against this reckless and this dirty habit that some of us have of littering in an indiscriminate way,” he said.

The Georgetown Municipality does not have sufficient working garbage trucks, resulting in businesses and homes having to dispose of their waste on parapets rather than keep their worm-laden and stink refuse in their yards for weeks until a rare appearance of a garbage truck.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Ronald Webster is not too enthusiastic about the one-off symbolic June 3-5 City-wide cleanup being organised by the Ministry of Local Government. “This is what the private sector is concerned about. They are being asked to do these things. They support it and then a few weeks later it flops so we need a total commitment of all citizens,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

The clean-up will take in Water Street to Parade Street and Young Street to Cowan Street;  North & South Cummingsburg from Lamaha Street to Church Street and Thomas Street to Water Street ; Lacytown from Water Street to Camp Street and North Road to South Road;  East Ruimveldt from Trench Road to Mandela Avenue and Front Road to Mandela Avenue and West Ruimveldt from Vlissengen Road to Hunter Street and Mandela Avenue to Front Road.

Winners for the various categories who participated in the Annual Green Walk:

Best Banner : 1. Marian Academy,  2. Graham’s Hall Primary School , 3. Guyana Forestry Commission ; Largest Contingent

1. Marian Academy , 2. Graham’s Hall Primary, 3. Guyana Police Force , Uniformity 1. Guyana Police Force, 2. Graham’s Hall Primary

3. Vreed-en-Hoop Primary School ; Best Chant 1. Guyana Police Force, 2. Graham’s Hall , 3. Marian Academy.