“The Maroni River is dying”: the alarm of scientists of the Guyana Amazon Park

This Monday, December 19, 2022, the scientists of the Amazon Park expressed their extreme concern. They observe “catastrophic degradation of the biodiversity of the border river, the Maroni River”. In November of last year, the scientific council of the park accepted the proposal. It calls for the establishment of technical and political cooperation between France and Suriname.

This is one of the many consequences of the gold rush. In an appeal to all state bodies and NGOs on December 19 Scientists of the Guyana Amazon Park are extremely worried About the current status of the Maroni River.

Recent scientific missions have led to the discoverysharp impoverishment of the river in terms of the variety and quantity of species encountered.“, they explain. The loss of this biodiversity “is directly related to silt carried by the river causing sediment pollution from upstream to downstream.“.

Scientists are determined: this sludge comes from gold panning areas located in the catchment areaon both sides of the border, immediately adjacent to the river or tributaries of the Maroni River.

In July 2022, a gold-washed tributary spill from Suriname territory at Maroni, downstream of Maripasula

They are urgently calling as COP15 ends on the same day in Canada Establishment of technical and political cooperation between France and Suriname To stop the degradation of Maroni-Lava. “There were even such attempts on the French side […] We see that not much has been done on the Suriname side and not illegal gold panning“, exactly Pierre-Yves LeBail, President of the Scientific Council of the Guyana Amazon Park.

This problem can only be solved if France and Suriname agree together and have a strong political will to end this situation. I remind you that we have just signed the COP15 on historical biodiversity commitments in Montreal and France and Suriname participated in the discussions. They should take action there.

Pierre-Yves LE BAIL, president of the scientific council of the Guyana Amazon Park.

According to the latest research, Suriname is ranked 16thc world position in terms of total areas devoted to mining activities. More than half of these are located in the Maroni watershed. Therefore, the activity of our neighbor – legal, by the way – is in question. “Systematic discharge of sludge into the river is no longer acceptable“, believes Pierre-Yves Le Bail.

In 2021, more than 600 km2 of this watershed has been severely affected by mining activities for more than 20 years, with 172 km2 on the Guyana side and 427 km2 on the Suriname side, respectively.“, describe the scientists of the Amazon Park. More than 3,000 km of rivers joining the Maroni have already been completely and permanently destroyed.

The authors of the movement state that this pollution leads to: “significant sediment deposits on substrates and aquatic plants thereby causing the drowning of aquatic fauna habitats and is an important part of the first links of the trophic chain.”

This phenomenon will explain “very significant” declines in the number of fish species observed in certain sectors, compared to other rivers (less affected) such as the Approuague. Also of concern are the species consumed by Guyanese: akupa, torch, aimara, pakou. Scientists point to the rarity of coastal fish-eating birds for proof.

Sediment deposition on aquatic plants at Abattis Cottica in November 2022

Finally, in some rural AmericaResidents can no longer drink water directly or indirectly from the river and resort to bottled mineral water in plastic. “This adds to the already obvious pollution in the river“, scientists note. Another factor that feeds the feeling of abandonment of these communities.

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