River pollutionA team from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) is expected to visit Saxacalli, Essequibo River, to address the issue of polluted river water as a result of mining activities in Gold Creek and Tiger Creek in the Mazaruni, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).The community of Saxacalli, along the Essequibo River, remains threated by pollution from mining in inland communitiesResidents have said pollution from mining practices in the Mazaruni region is still affecting them, despite many initiatives over the years to curb the scourge. The situation have escalated to the point where the main water source in the riverine community is so polluted, villagers are afflicted by skin rashes accompanied by diarrhoea.An official from the Natural Resources Ministry told this publication the GGMC is aware of the issue and noted that it is a recurring one. The official added that a team will be deployed to the area to address the issue and provide the residents with some form of relief.Residents informed Guyana Times last Saturday that they made complaints to the GGMC, alerting the Commission of the issue but noted that nothing has been done to address it. The complaints were made since 2015 and they are yet to receive a response as to the next course of action. When contacted, acting Commissioner of the GGMC, Newell Dennison said he had no comment on the issue. However, an email was sent to the Natural Resources Ministry’s Public Relations office for an update to the situation but no response was received.Community Health Worker (CHW) and resident, Helen Williams, told this newspaper on Saturday last that the polluted water is flowing down from upstream locations. “We depend on the rain water; the river water very nasty, that’s with the gold mining that’s going on… at Gold Creek and Tiger Creek,” she explained.This ongoing crisis has altered the very culture of the community, which traditionally saw inhabitants using the river water in nearly every aspect of their lives; including drinking, washing and cooking. But this has all changed as often times; patients are brought in with flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea and vomiting; and skin rashes.“When the rain falls, it usually wash down through the creeks and then come out in the river and sometimes we find small children, even adults coming down with skin infections,” Williams also noted.The health worker further pointed out that often times, members of the community are compelled to purchase water when their rain water reserves become depleted.She said she spoke to officials who visited the community, adding that she made a complaint in 2015 to the GGMC but never received a response. “The GGMC send up people to test the water but nothing else,” posited Williams, echoing the call for the relevant agency to look into the community’s concerns.