The Environmental Protection Agency has investigated complaint of noise nuisance

Dear Editor,
The Environmental Pro-tection Agency would like to thank you for the opportunity to respond to the letter in the Stabroek News dated February 26, 2009 captioned ‘Noise nuisance has continued for three years.’ The letter contains a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements which we wish to correct.

It is unfortunate that the names and addresses of the letter writers are withheld. However, if the person who originally made the complaint is included among the letter writers, he should be fair to the agency and acknowledge that he has been apprised of the efforts of the agency in addressing the complaint. The complaint was fully investigated by the agency and deemed to be valid. The agency made some interim recommendations to alleviate the problem and has been monitoring compliance of its recommendations by the alleged polluter. Further investigation by the agency revealed that some efforts have been made by the alleged polluter to mitigate the problem, but not fully to the satisfaction of the agency.

The failure by the alleged polluter to fully comply with the recommendations of the agency has resulted in the agency issuing a Prohibition Notice under Section 27 of the Environmental Protection Act, No 11 of 1969, with specific compliance requirements including:

* Submission of the relevant permissions/approvals from the Neighbourhood Democratic Council and the Central housing and Planning Authority

* Full enclosure of the generator with sound-proof materials to abate adverse noise impacts from the operation of the generator.

Normally, the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) is required to grant building and operational no-objection and the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has the mandate of granting land-use planning permission. In addition, permission must be obtained from the Guyana Energy Agency to operate the generator. If the various permissions are not obtained then the relevant entities must exercise their authority as an appropriate. While the EPA is trying to deal with the issue of the noise and odour nuisance in accordance with its legislation, the problem needs to be addressed fundamentally and legally by the various authorities. We have already sought the intervention of the NDC and the CH&PA and the complainants should recognize this and pursue the matter with these entities. It should be noted that a planned verification inspection would be conducted to ascertain compliance with conditions of the Prohibition Notice issued to the alleged polluter.

Given the foregoing clarification, we are surprised that the letter writers would resort to the various inaccurate statements reflected in their letter, such as, “nothing has been done to eliminate the problem,” and that “there is chronic incompetence at all levels.” The letter writers obviously could not have been referring to the EPA.

Finally, for the benefit of the public we wish to point out that Section 48 of the Environmental Protection Act 1996 does not preclude any person who has suffered loss or damage as a result of the commission by any other person of any offence under the act or any conduct contrary to the act or the regulations, from pursuing civil proceedings against such other person.
Yours faithfully,
Doorga Persaud
Executive Director
Environmental
Protection Agency

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