Karrau villagers desperate for end to creek pollution

Although Karrau Creek, which was once used by residents of the Region Seven village as a main source of water for bathing, washing, fishing and cooking, continues to be polluted by a nearby mining operations, no action has been taken to rectify the situation.

“What can you do when you have exhausted all available options?” asks Shane Cornelius, a resident of Karrau, who explained to Stabroek News that the pollution can be traced to a mining block, which overlaps titled village lands and where persons have been granted permission to mine on the land beginning from late 2015. However, the tailings from the mining operations now flow directly into the Karrau Creek, which has been polluted as a result.

“They can try and fish there but the creek ain’ got fish anymore so it ain’t make sense. Even the fish can’t stay in that much less humans,” Cornelius stated.

The discoloured water that now fills the Karrau Creek.

Several attempts by this newspaper to contact the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) for a comment proved futile and Cornelius said little has been done by the agency to address the situation, although the pollution of the waterway is contrary to its regulations.

He noted that letters have been written to the relevant agencies and several ministers of government have visited the village and are aware of the issue, yet nothing has been done.

“Letters has been written, ministers have visited and were informed, but yet the problem persists. GGMC officers traverse the area daily; up to today they were there. The mining has caused severe pollution to the creek and totally violates the very GGMC law as well as the Amerindian act of 2006,” he told Stabroek News.

“It’s a serious situation. Our [Regional] Chairman knows about it firsthand. I have raised it many times at [Regional Democratic Council] meetings; He did his part by passing the issue to relevant people but still nothing,” Cornelius added.

It was further explained that the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) had installed a well in the village sometime last year after residents complained about the lack of access to water in wake of the pollution. However, Stabroek News understands that only 25 percent of the village has access to the well.

“Our way of life depends on the creek and we would like the miners and the block to be removed because it’s overlapping and causing severe hardship due to excessive pollution. The miners ease that area for about a year due to low production but now they are back at that area,” he posited.

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