The blood-red river near the Digity Mud volcano is no longer crimson but has returned to its murky-brown colour.
Scores of people who went to the river to see the strange phenomenon left disappointed. Among them was Sama Carue of Tunapuna.
“We left home early this morning to get here because we heard the river was red but when we came it was normal. We are disappointed yes but we will still make a lime here before going home,” Carue said.
Caretaker of the Digity Mud volcano site Rakesh Rampersad said it was not the first time that the Oropouche River running near the volcano turned red.
He said in 2018, around the same time of the year, the water began getting a reddish hue.
“Last year the river was reddish but this time the entire strip of the river was blood red. I have no idea what caused it to run out,” Rampersad recalled.
Following heavy rains in the area on Saturday night, Rampersad said the river returned to its normal colour.
“When we came here this morning it was slightly red. I doubt it is bacteria. I feel it is pollution,” Rampersad added.
The Environmental Management Authority’s emergency response investigative officer Anil Bandoo, as well as EMA’s driver Rennie Lutchman, visited the area yesterday. Bandoo said they will track the body of water to see if the reddish residue was still evident.
The reddish river was first highlighted by the Intellectual on Facebook.
During an interview on Saturday, chairman of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Dr Allen Sammy said the river is heavily polluted.
“People throw all kinds of rubbish in the river. Some people also use the river for agricultural purposes.”
He said disaster management teams from the corporation were investigating the source of the pollutant.
Managing director of the EMA Hayden Romano said if there is proven evidence that someone was deliberately polluting the river, they could face charges.
What the law says
Under the Environmental Management Act Chap 35:05 Section 70:
1. “Anyone through the release or handling of any pollutant or hazardous substance knowingly or recklessly endangers human life or health, commits an offence, and is liable on conviction on indictment, to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars and imprisonment for two years.
2. Any person who knowingly or recklessly undertakes or conspires to allow any activity in an “environmentally sensitive area” or with respect to an “environmentally sensitive species” designated under section 41, which may have an adverse impact on the environment within such area or on such species, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction on indictment, to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars and imprisonment for two years.