Open burning of marijuana, cocaine on Homestretch Ave was reckless

Dear Editor,

It is expected that a Government would lead by example, especially when it comes to adherence to laws and best practices.

On Saturday 18th September 2021 the Minister of Home Affairs oversaw the burning of some 2000 pounds each of cocaine and marijuana by CANU and the Guyana Police Force on Homestretch Avenue. This press-worthy event was streamed live on social media.

This reckless and senseless action bothers me. The fact that there was no EPA officer present nor  a caution to let the viewing public know that open burning is a criminal offence suggests to me that approval for the burning was probably not even sought. Even though I know an approval can easily be back dated and obtained those involved must be held accountable for this action. 

The open burning of cocaine and marijuana by the Government must be condemned as both reckless and senseless. Open fires are especially dangerous near populated areas. It can be a serious risk to children, seniors, persons with heart problems and respiratory ailments. It also threatens natural resources and contributes to climate change.  The harmful contaminants from burning affects, water, air, wildlife and natural habitats.

The burning occurred on the outskirts of the Botanical Gardens which also houses our zoological park and a bird sanctuary, after the Zoo is GWI and the residents on Hadfield street.

Might I remind Guyanese that under the Environmental Protection (Air Quality) regulations it is an offence to conduct open burning without approval from the EPA and penalties range from $75,000 to $500,000 and to imprisonment for 6 months.

With that said I would like to call upon the the Environmental Protection Agency to state publicly whether or not approval was granted for Saturday’s open burning by Government and if not then I’d like to suggest that those involved be held accountable in accordance with the EPA’s regulations.

Yours faithfully,

Clayon F. Halley

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