Last Sunday, young and old environmental activists concerned about the state of Guyana’s rivers, marked World Environment Day, June 5th, 2017 by staging a march and rally, under the theme “Keep Our Rivers Alive,” which commenced at the Bank of Guyana and concluded at the seawall bandstand.
According to a release from the NGO, Policy Forum Guyana (PFG), participants included primary and secondary schools from Georgetown, the East Coast and West Bank, two UG organisations – Hinter-land Secondary school students and St. Anne’s Home for girls, East Coast Clean-Up Committees,
Rotaract members from UG and Georgetown and Cyril Potter College of Education student teachers. Also present were contingents from the Forestry Commission, the Ministry of Natural Resources and several businesses. The schools with their banners and chants around the theme, “Keep the Rivers Alive,” led the head-and-wrist-band wearing marchers to the seawall, where they were addressed by young leaders.
The main message was that Guyanese have to set aside their complacent belief that water is abundant and something they don’t have to worry about, according to the PFG media release. The young leaders argued that rivers are dying, potable water aquifers are drying up, and coastal waters are being polluted by chemicals and waste products. Partici-pants were encouraged to promote keeping the rivers free of mercury and other contaminants, making safe drinking water accessible to everyone and providing effective laws and regulations to protect water. Local UN Coordinator and marcher Mikiko Tanaka delivered greetings from the UN for World Environment Day.
According to the release, prizes for best banner, chant and creativity were awarded by three members of Rotaract. Marian Academy and Lusignan/Good Hope Learning Centre were the winners and runner-ups, respectively in the best banner category. Tutorial High School emerged the victors over runner-ups Hope Secondary, Charlestown and Marian Academy in the ‘chant off’, while the creativity prize was awarded to St. Ann’s Home, with Ann’s Grove Secondary in the runner-up position.