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Gypsy: Glow in river attracts crowds to Ortoire

Wednesday, April 16 2014

At first welcomed as a boost to tourism in Mayaro, a bluish glow emitting from the Ortoire River, is now being regarded as an inconvenience as thousands flock to the watercourse resulting in miles of traffic and piles of garbage being left along the river banks.

The issue has led to a call from Mayaro MP and Community Development Minister, Winston “Gypsy” Peters for visitors to respect residents as well as the environment. He said the seaside community has been overwhelmed by the influx of visitors to the river since it began “glowing” a month ago.

The glow or bioluminescence is a “cold” light emitted from single cell organisms called dinoflagellates, a type of plankton that has bloomed along parts of the Ortoire, due to a mix of cold salt water flowing upriver during the high tide, and the warmer fresh water coming from the interior.

At a news conference along the river banks yesterday, Peters said while he was grateful for the increase in visitor arrivals to the community the time had come to “bring some order to Mayaro.”

“We are happy to have people and everything come to Mayaro but it is becoming very, very difficult for even the residents to even go to their homes because of the amount of people and cars,” Peters said. “In their haste to get here, they (visitors) are arbitrarily parking and people can’t get to go home, some people have to park their cars very long distances and walk to their homes because of the amount of people that are coming and parking everywhere.”

A usual ten-minute drive from the Mayaro Community Centre to the river had taken just over an hour-and-a-half on the weekend.

He said the Mayaro police have been asked to implement a traffic management plan and warned they may have to re-instate the wrecking service should persons continue to park indiscriminately.

“What we would like to see is some more order,” he said, and, with Mayaro/ Rio Claro Regional Corporation chairman, Hazarie Ramdeen, also at the press conference, pointed out the corporation had placed portable toilets and commissioned cleaning crews.

“When you are coming to look at what is going on in the river, be considerate of the people who live here and you have to be considerate of the environment because people are coming here and when they leave, we have mounds of garbage all over the place. Walk with your garbage bags,” he said, adding persons were also throwing plastic cups and glass bottles into the river to get the water to glow.

Ramdeen said while the corporation had dispatched two crews of eight persons each, they also want visitors to be responsible.

He also noted ambulance and fire services have been placed on alert in the event of emergencies.

Resident, Shelly Ann Siewsahai said the community is disrupted daily with the influx of visitors, saying the corporation had to not only place more portable toilet, but also barrels for garbage.

“The people does begin to arrive by seven pm and all two, three o’clock in the morning, it still have people,” she said.

Resident Farad Jan said while he also saw some good emerging from the visitor arrivals, the unbearable traffic and garbage pile-up were outweighing the benefits.

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