Illegal miningWeeks after an alleged illegal mining operation was shut down in the Demerara River in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), residents are joining the calls by officials for the removal of two draggers which were placed in the river at Watooka, Mackenzie, Linden. The operators of the equipment were instructed by Police to remove their equipment until relevant documentation is provided.However, Chairman of Region 10 Renis Morian indicated on Tuesday that this was not done. Morian stressed that to date, the miners have not produced an Environmental Impact Assessment, which he noted is a necessary document for such activities.Residents and officials, including Chairman of the Linden Chamber of Industry Commerce and Development (LCICD) Victor Fernandes have since expressedThe dredge which was spotted in the Upper Demerara Riverconcern over mining actives in the region’s waterways. Fernandes also cited health and environmental impacts as a concern. Fernandes said while development is necessary, it must not be at the expense of the people.“As the voice of the Private Sector…our concern majorly is environmental, which is everybody’s concern. The environmental issues are genuine concerns for us and I think that members of this community we would like to know what are the environmental considerations in the first place in terms of issuing licences,” Fernandes told members of the media on Tuesday.Resident Oscar Hector cited health concerns, noting that residents, including those in Indigenous communities, depend on the river for a livelihood. “What we can’t understand in this community is how is it that this county could allow foreigners to come and work in our waterway and contaminate the water, where we have 40,000 residents approximately, using this water… Also, we have these Amerindian people more up in the river who using the water naturally… things like that should not happen… We need it to stop immediately,” he noted.Taxi driver Robert Greene in voicing his concern said he believes environmental laws and procedures should be followed as it relates to mining. He further stated his belief that if miners coming into the community receive the nod after consulting with the Environmental Protection Agency, then they should be allowed to conduct activities, however if they do not, he said it can be termed a violation.Meanwhile, Divisional Manager of the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) Rawle Friday explained that should there be any water mining mishaps, approximately 18,000 residents who depend on the water system can be adversely affected. Friday said GWI would have taken interest in the mining activities given the risks of contamination.He added that in Linden, there are three water treatment plants which extracts water from the Demerara River and there is no capacity to deal with contamination caused by harmful chemicals. These plants, he noted serve around 18,000 people collectively. “As such, we have a situation where we have to be extra careful in taking care of this most precious source and commodity to ensure the health and well-being of all….” Officials have noted that residents, mainly Indigenous communities situated along the river, stand to be affected. Already, they noted, there is some amount of activity occurring up river.A number of persons, including nine Brazilians were questioned and released by Police in connection with the activity which was shut down weeks ago by Police and regional officials. Morian said upon inspecting documents presented by the miners, he realised that some of the Brazilian nationals’ passports would have expired on July 25, 2018 and some were without work permits.