Residents of Charlotte Street, Enterprise are angry over noise and dust pollution they say is emanating from a hollow block factory that has been operating in the East Coast Demerara community for several years.
According to Sharda Persaud, the Muneshwar’s hollow block factory was set up by Good Hope, East Coast Demerara businessman Muneshwar Persaud in 1996. “The noise and dust at the time was kept at a minimum,” she said, while adding that within the past two years, the operation began to take its toll on the area, since the ransom (cement processor), which is operated by the lone worker at the factory, “began to make a lot of noise in addition to uncontrollable dust.”
She noted that the factory commences operations as early as 6 am and lasts until around 4:30 pm or when it runs out of water. She said that recently, dust from the cement and sand used by the factory has been affecting many persons in the immediate vicinity, including neighbours who have small children. Persaud explained that the effects of the situation began to take a toll on her and her family and she has since penned numerous letters to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among other agencies.
However, she noted that the operator of the factory, along with his worker, became abusive after residents approached them to voice their concerns recently.
“At one point, he began to become so abusive that we decide to approach the NDC [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] and even the Office of the President [OP],” she said. However, according to her, “we were not getting any assistance from anywhere.” The NDC and OP have only acknowledged receipt of complaints made by way of letter, Persaud said.
Persaud wrote several letters to the EPA and in one which was addressed to Dr Indarjit Ramdass, the EPA head, she noted that several promises were made by the agency to address the situation but to date nothing has been done.
Ramdass, in a letter dated August 29th this year, noted that officials of the agency visited the hollow block operation to take noise readings from the ransom in operation. He stated that a previous visit in March this year was inconclusive since at the time the facility was not operational.
He said that the EPA continues to investigate the issue along with the relevant sector agencies in order to bring a resolution to the matter.
When the EPA was contacted yesterday by this newspaper, Dr Ramdass was said to be at a meeting. Meanwhile, the owner of the operation, Muneshwar Persaud, was said to be unavailable when calls were made to telephone numbers at the business.
This newspaper visited the site yesterday and the lone worker was abusive to persons living nearby as they listed their concerns. The man stated among other things that the operation was not affecting anyone, even as he hammered away at the machine, which could be heard as far as two corners away. Persaud and another neighbour noted that they will continue to press the issue, since, according to them, neither the worker nor his employer lives in the community and “they don’t really care because its not they who are experiencing the discomfort in their own homes.”