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CBOs come together to replant Nariva Swamp

Sunday, June 10, 2018
Surujnarine "Buck" Hanooman, centre assist volunteers to load plants on a tractor to be carried to the Nariva Swamp. Photo by:Ralph Banwarie

Eleven Community Based Organisations (CBOs)—from Plum Mitan, Plum Road, and Biche—have united for the cause of conservation. They joined forces last week to replant trees at the Nariva Swamp. The trees, planted more than ten years ago, were destroyed by fire more than a week ago.

Surujnarine "Buck" Hanooman, vice president of Plum Mitan Central CBO, who was instrumental in bringing the CBOs together, said 120 volunteers came out to replant trees at Nariva Swamp, which has been declared an Environmentally Sensitive Area.

On Wednesday the CBOs and their volunteers under the supervision of Lisa Benjamin, project manager from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), and Rishi Singh of Forestry Division replaced most of the burnt trees.

"This is a stepping stone for us to do other projects around the coastal area of Manzanilla, Mayaro, etc," Hanooman said.

One volunteer, speaking about the destruction of the trees, said it was time "people stop being selfish and be more caring and friendly to the environment. This careless, selfish, and lawless attitude of people must end. They are destroying our natural habitat without thinking about the impact it will have on climate change."

Hanooman, spokesman for the group, said a $15 million-dollar project was started in the swamp in 2010 and provided employment for 120 people who maintain the swamp by ensuring plants are not destroyed, engage in replanting exercises, and restrict people from entering the area for the purpose of fishing and hunting.

He said "funding for this project came from the European Union, the EMA, Global Environmental Facilities (GEF), FAO, and Forestry Division, who have all shown their love and respect for the conservation of our natural resources and the environment."

The project was run under the National Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, Wildlife and Livelihood project.

"The Nariva Swamp has become more eco-friendly and is attracting more tourists. Last year, over 300 different birds were seen in this swamp and tourists come from all over the world to spend in nature, creating income for tour guides and trail designers," Hanooman said.

He said they have also seen the return of the Red Howlers monkeys and West Indian manatees were also spotted by fisherman in a river that connects to the swamp.

In addition, the Sandhill area, one of the main eco-attractions in the Nariva Swamp, with pure white sand and chip chip shells, has been described as the home for the iguana.

Hanooman made a special appeal to members of the public to enjoy their natural habitat and assist in preserving it. "This is our natural treasure and we must cherish it."


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