Perhaps the Environmental Protection Agency mandate is too limited

Dear Editor,
I have read the letter written by the residents of the Albion Front community captioned ‘Noise Nuisance has continued for three years’ and the response provided by Mr Doorga Persaud, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, published in Stabroek News on February 26, 2009 and February 28, 2009, respectively, and wish to make a contribution. It so happened I spent close to two weeks in the neighbourhood in question in January 2009, and I was able to witness first hand the problem outlined in the letter of February 26, 2008.

With due respect, it is difficult, at best, to understand that the Executive Director of the EPA has admitted that the complaint is “deemed to be valid,” yet the problem has been allowed to continue for three years.  How long a time span should the proprietor of the generating plant be given? Why was the proprietor allowed to operate without the relevant/approval from the Neighbourhood Democratic Council and the Central Housing and Planning Authority for three years? Are the institutions responsible for the noise pollution and land use issues all working in isolation? I am not surprised that the residents of the community feel “that nothing has been done to eliminate the problem” and that there “is chronic incompetence at all levels.”  One has to understand the context under which the statements were made.  In my own experience, I was not able to sleep at night very well because I was forced to close the windows to avoid the noise level.  The room, however, became uncomfortable because of the heat. Mr Persaud should spend a night in the neighbourhood to share the experience of the people.

Perhaps, the EPA mandate is too limited. The Executive Director, therefore, should seek more power for the EPA so that the EPA can be more effective.  It is time he writes to the President requesting legislation that will give the agency the ability to be more decisive. It is a shame that resolution only seems possible through civil proceedings when all these institutions responsible for protecting the rights of citizens are in existence.  In the meanwhile, the neighbourhood is still suffering from the noise pollution!
Yours faithfully,
Tony Rampersaud

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