THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aware that a public that values the environment will act to keep it safe and healthy. After all, the environment is the source of our air, water, food, medicine and inspiration. We must then be conscious of our use of the environment to keep it free from pollution and depletion.
This is where the EPA comes into the picture. It was set up by Government to guide people to use the environment according to rules, so that the environment will continue to benefit us now and in the future.
No doubt you now have questions about the EPA. Good! Read on and you will find answers to your questions.
What we do
The EPA regulates the use of the environment and it has the authority to do so under the law. The Environmental Protection Act and several environmental Regulations guide the EPA in its work.
The EPA applies the Act and Regulations to prevent and control pollution and conserve and protect biodiversity. All users of the environment have to comply with the Act and Regulations.
Persons who wish to set-up business projects that entail the use of the natural resources and or release of pollutants must first obtain Environmental Authorisation from the EPA. The EPA also investigates reports of pollution and degradation of the environment and applies the law to persons who are found in breach.
Apart from Environmental Authorisation and Environmental Inspections, the EPA develops Regulations, Standards and Guidelines to support its work.
Where we are located
The Environmental Protection Agency is located at Ganges Street, Sophia, Georgetown. We are adjacent to the Guyana Power and Light Inc. and is one corner away from Pike Street Sophia.
Authorisations granted by the EPA
The EPA issues four main types of Environmental Authorisation to new and existing businesses or development projects. These are:
Operational Permits – required for businesses/projects already in operation ,but which are operating without Environmental Authorisation. This permit is particularly required for changes in process and/or technology used in an operation that can affect the environment.
Construction Permit – issued in the construction phase to developments, whether now or existing.
Environmental Permit – issued to developments that are on the EPA’s list of projects requiring an environment permit. Also issued to projects not of EPA’s list, but which may have a significant impact on the environment during construction, operation or closure.
Letter of Authorisation – issued to developments that may not have a significant impact on the environment.
TYPES OF ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATIONS
1. Operations Permit
2. Construction Permit
3. Environmental Permit
4. Letter of Authorisation
Apart from Environmental Authorisations, the EPA issues other types of permits among which are:
Noise Permit – This is required by any business engaging in activities which produce noise, e.g. entertainment, commercial and construction activities. Such business owners must apply to the EPA for authorisation. Also, if a Permit Holder makes changes to his/her business operation which will cause an increase in noise levels, he/she must obtain approval for a variance from the EPA.
If you are hosting an activity that will generate noise, apply to the EPA for a Noise Permit. The EPA grants Short-term Noise Permits for single use between the hours of 07:00hrs and 23:00 hrs. Typically applications for Noise Permits are processed within 1-2 days.
Biodiversity Research Permit – Biodiversity Research is important to biodiversity by generating data on Guyana’s biological resources so they can be sustainably managed. ALL persons — whether Guyanese or a non-national — MUST apply for a Biodiversity Research Permit from the EPA to conduct biodiversity research in the country.
Application for a Biodiversity Research Permit, along with supporting documents can be submitted online through the National Biodiversity Research Information System (NBRIS) — an EPA initiative launched in 2013. The application needs to be made three (3) months before the research is due to commence. An application fee of US $75 must accompany the submission of the application form. Applications made in less than three months are required to pay a late application fee of US $40. (Read more about NBRIS in a subsequent article)
Having read this article, you are no doubt better informed on what the EPA does, and can easily tell the types of permits issued by the EPA. You can now act on this information by sharing with others, particularly persons in your circle and community who are interested in starting a business or project. Join us next week for more on the EPA. If you have a question about us, send them to us so that we can provide you with answers in the next article.
You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.