Corentyne farmers protest EPA over pollution by rice mill

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Pollution reportedly caused by a rice mill in Berbice has resulted in a group of cash crop farmers staging a picketing exercise outside of a regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The farmers hail from Bengal, Corentyne in Region Six.

They claim that a rice mill has been releasing its wastewater into a canal which leads into the drainage canal from which they source water for their crops.

Some of the farmers claim that they have already suffered tremendous losses after using the polluted water.

One of the farmers, Cecil Davis explained that there is a drain situated between the rice mill and his farm which is used to collect the wastewater from the mill.

“The water is stink and black…We can’t do farming with that water,” he declared.

This publication visited the farming area and met Premwattie Bhudah, who was also on the protest line. She explained her plight.

“Ah wata kill out all me peppa! Me na get non peppa no mo,” she said in her native Corentyne accent.

In an invited comment Leeka Rambrich, the owner and operator of the mill in question, Rambrich Enterprise, said the drain behind his mill was blocked by the farmers and as a result, the water began to ferment.

“It is about five weeks they blocked the drain, and with the pigs that they own going in and turning it up with the burnt paddy shells in there, it started to ferment and so there was a smell. The water being released into the drainage system is fresh water from the rice mill.”

Rambrich said it was on Tuesday he contacted the NDC and the NDIA and was able to get the drain behind his mill cleared.

According to Rambrich, it was the NDIA which blocked the drainage canal preventing any water from the mill to go into the cultivation area. He explained that the NDIA intends to place a tube with a self-acting door so that there could still be drainage of the farmlands.