Fri | Jun 21, 2024

Health fears mount amid garbage pile-up at Alligator Pond

Published:Saturday | April 20, 2024 | 12:08 AMSashana Small/Staff Reporter
Uncollected garbage along the road side in the Alligator Pond community in Manchester.
Uncollected garbage along the road side in the Alligator Pond community in Manchester.
Garbage pileup in the Alligator Pond community in Manchester.
Garbage pileup in the Alligator Pond community in Manchester.

COUNCILLOR FOR the Alligator Pond division in Manchester, Omar Robinson, is appealing to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) to act quickly in ridding the community of the unsightly garbage pile-up.

According to Robinson, it has been almost a month since garbage has been collected from communities in the area, and residents are concerned about the potential health hazard it poses.

“It is at a stage where persons are tempted to burn the garbage and I warn them against it because it is illegal and they’re saying that they’re placed in a difficult position with the threat of rodents by all of that pile-up,” he said.

Robinson said he has been advocating on behalf of residents to the Southern Parks and Markets (SPM) Waste Management Limited, which has oversight of Clarendon, Manchester, and St Elizabeth, but it has been fruitless.

He said he was informed by personnel at SPM Waste Management Limited that the truck that is used for garbage collection in the area is down.

“I don’t think that that’s good enough reason as it relates to garbage collection when we all know that they boast (about) new truck sometime ago, and to tell me now that they don’t have an operating truck in the Alligator Pond division… it is very very disappointing,” he said.

The NWSMA received 50 garbage trucks valued at US$6.9 million (J$1.06 billion) in December 2022, with 10 being allocated to SPM Waste Management Limited.

The Gleaner tried to get comment from the SPM Waste Management Limited and NSWMA, but was unsuccessful up to press time.

Meanwhile Bobbeth Clarke, principal of Alligator Pond Early Childhood Institution is concerned about the potential health impacts of the garbage pile-up on her students.

“Our drums are full and we have to resort to storing garbage in bags and in the community of Alligator Pond, dogs roam, we don’t know how they get on to the compound sometimes, so we have to be storing the bags in an area that is basically within the school building. It is hazardous, we really lock the children away, but we know that garbage … things can follow garbage which will in turn create illness,” she said.

Clarke shared that garbage has been on the school compound before it closed for its recent mid-term break in March.

“We could understand why it would not have been collected because the gate would have been closed. However, we were anticipating the trucks coming the first week of school given the fact that most schools would have been closed,” she said.

Robinson, in the meantime, is anticipating that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible.

“Let me hope that in short order the area can be cleaned in terms of garbage being picked up,” he said. “If you are to take a drive in the Alligator Pond division it is evident, people creating illegal dumps on the roadway, and that is another sore point, they just don’t know, they don’t know what to do with their garbage,” he said.