Rice factories should not be permitted in residential areas

Dear Editor,

All men and women should have a voice in decision-making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their interest. Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech as well as capacities to participate constructively. This is not the case when Rice Mills are being built in residential areas like Cane Grove and other areas throughout the country as a whole. First of all a person who desires to establish a rice factory shall apply to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for a permit to do so in triplicate accompanied by a building plan, certificate of title, lease or any other document evidencing title or a right of occupancy of the land.

An environmental permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established under the EPA Act 1996 or a statement from the Agency to the effect that the application has been exempted from the requirement for an environmental impact assessment is required. The Board upon receipt of the documents referred to according to the laws shall transmit copies thereof to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), the Central Board of Health (CBH), the Factories Division of the Occupational Health and Safety Depart-ment, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Fire Service for their consideration and recommendation for Approval.

The Board shall, notwithstanding anything in any other written law, upon receipt of the recommendation and approval of the sectoral agencies to which the documents were transmitted and taking those recommendations and approval into consideration decide whether or not a permit should be granted for the rice factory to be established. The legal frameworks should now be fair and enforced impartially particularly the laws on dust and noise pollution by the President or the relevant Ministers responsible for these areas.

Good governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the people and, where possible, on policies and procedures.

Pollution and noise  problems caused by factories and other industrial operations in  residential areas cover a very wide range of activities. We may cite the Cane Grove dust and noise pollution problem where the hazards range from breathing dust into lungs and the risk of trauma. The scale of such operations should never be allowed in a residential area because it pollutes the land and marine environments.

Yours faithfully,
Mohamed Khan
former Director Central Housing
and Planning Authority

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