Today we celebrate another World Environment Day under the theme: “Ecosystems Restoration”. This is a great goal since ecosystems are constantly under threat in Guyana. However, it cannot be achieved or maintained when Guyanese think:
- It is okay to remove mangroves from the coastline (our natural defences against the high tide) and replace them with man-made defences, and reforest mined out sites in the interior.
- It is okay to visit certain natural sites for recreation (63 Beach, Seawall) and leave them filled with garbage.
- It is okay to use our main rivers especially near the Stabroek, Mackenzie, Parika and Charity markets as dumpsites.
- It is okay to constantly clear lands for Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) operations, which not only destroys various ecosystems by removal of the forest but also releases a poisonous chemical (mercury) into the air, soil and water that is dangerous to all living things.
Guyanese continue to threaten and destroy ecosystems regularly although these areas are responsible for providing us with the following services:
- Clean air
- Disease control
- Recreation and Eco-Tourism
- Coastal Protection (particularly mangroves) is important since the Coastal Plain is several feet below sea level.
- Groundwater recharge
- Climate regulation
- Water Purification
- River flow quantity and timing
Therefore, unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, the state of the environment would not improve. So, this year as we acknowledge World Environment Day, we would like to encourage everyone reading this to reflect on the fact that Nature does not need you to exist, but you cannot exist without Nature. May we, therefore, be motivated to do our part, however small it may be (such as not littering), to ensure environmental protection.