Residents in villages along the East Coast of Demerara are now breathing a sigh of relief following the intervention by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in relation to complaints of the odour emanating from the poultry and pig farms in their communities.
According to a Department of Public Information (DPI) press release, the residents of those villages which include Mon Repos, Lusignan and Mahaica, had lodged complaints of the effect the stench was having on their health. The EPA subsequently intervened and all the offending farmers were ordered to halt their operations since they exceeded the legal dimensions for farms within such communities, the DPI release added.
Senior Environmental Officer Christine Samwaroo said that the EPA is stepping up its role to ensure that polluters are adhering to the environmental laws. She noted that the health and safety of the villagers are important and the visit was to ensure that those issued with warning letters were in compliance.
“The first person that we visited, we saw that they have taken control of the chickens they were rearing and the two other persons were not there but we will continue to visit to guarantee they are in compliance” Samwaroo was quoted as saying.
Samwaroo further added that the EPA, “encourages people who are rearing animals or poultry, to come into the agency. We have guidelines and we can steer them through the process because we want to make sure that they are doing it the right way and that they are not putting the environment and other people lives at risk. We want to ensure that they are in compliance at all times.”
A follow-up visit by the EPA team revealed that most of the farmers have abided by the law. However, one pig farmer in Lusignan continues to flout the order and has reportedly even threatened those who have complained.
Residents of Lusignan said that the situation has been ongoing for a number of years with numerous letters written to the EPA asking for the matter to be addressed.
They noted their satisfaction with the steps made by the EPA to address the smell that affected them daily. They also expressed their confidence that the organisation will swiftly address the recalcitrance of the errant farmer.