Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says the Government will reforest 6,000 acres of mined-out land to help to mitigate Guyana’s carbon footprint.
The Vice President made this disclosure during a press conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Friday, where he addressed criticism over the displacement of mangroves in the Demerara River.
The displacement caused 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. However, he explained that a tonne of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere has the same impact anywhere in the world.
“It doesn’t matter; it is tonne for tonne… We had to give permission to clear 40 acres of mangroves because there will be development along that fringe. We made it clear from the mouth of the Demerara River to Wales, there shall be development,” the Vice President said.
The shore-based development is crucial to the development of Guyana and its citizens, Dr. Jagdeo said, noting that it brings in revenue and creates jobs.
“In the United States, there’s approximately US$65,000 per capita; the United Kingdom is about €40,000. We are $5,000 per capita. Our plan is to grow Guyana maybe in the next decade to US$30,000 per capita.
“That’s when people will stop migrating and move back to Guyana. We have to grow this country per capita, and we can do so keeping our environmental credentials intact.”
Dr. Jagdeo said it was during his tenure as President that the PPP/C Administration, and the European Union executed a comprehensive plan to replant mangroves. He recalled that Guyana, under Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) received € 5 million to combat the effects of climate change on the coast.
Other achievements of this project include some 36.5km of mangroves now monitored and protected by a mangrove ranger unit. Surveys of project sites have been conducted, with 420, 000 black mangrove seedlings produced and planted with community involvement.
Additionally, five kilometres of mangroves have been restored along the East Coast Demerara, West Coast Berbice and Corentyne Coast. Hard structures have also been designed and constructed to increase sedimentation in selected areas. Also, Mangrove Action Committees have been set up to promote mangrove awareness and protection at the community level.
“This development is crucial. People have to have a balance between development. We have to move our country forward and our people.”
The Vice President said the Government has engaged a European company to restore the 6,000 acres of mined-out lands. In addition to this project, the Guyana Forestry Commission oversees its own programme to restore trees in these areas, the VP noted.