Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Portmore mosquitoes find refuge in NWC sewage ponds

Published:Monday | February 17, 2020 | 12:10 AMRasbert Turner/Gleaner Writer

The National Water Commission (NWC) has been collared by the authorities for its role in providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes in Greater Portmore, St Catherine, as the parish continues to ramp up efforts to beat back the challenge posed by the dengue vectors.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation in Spanish Town last Thursday, the parish’s chief public health inspector, Grayson Hutchinson, said that the NWC’s failure to remove water lilies from its sewerage ponds has resulted in a mosquito infestation in the community.

“We’ve served an enforcement notice on NWC to rid the ponds of the lilies. We realised that if it is not clean, our work will be nullified – and even useless – as the lilies are the breeding ground, and no vector control can help,” Hutchinson said.

He said that despite the constant spraying of the space, there has been no significant gains because of the lilies in the sewerage ponds.

“There is a simple answer to the problem ... . There is no other way and it needs urgent attention, and we have given them a specified period in which the work must be done,” Hutchinson said.

He emphasised that it will require the cooperation of all stakeholders in order for the Health Department’s spraying efforts to reap success.

Councillor Yvonne McCormack of the Greater Portmore division endorsed the effort of the Health Department to combat the mosquitoes.

sad situation

“It is a sad situation which needs urgent attention, as even a week ago, the Kesington Basic School closed its doors because of mosquitoes. It’s a thing which must be tackled, as the children are being bitten at a time when there is a dengue problem,” McCormack said.

When The Gleaner checked the Kesington Basic School in Greater Portmore, it was confirmed that the mosquitoes have adversely affect the smooth operation of the institution.

“The problem gets worse at this time of the year, and it is very sad that it has resulted in ... students being forced to stay home due to mosquito problem,” principal Kerryann Brissette said.

She told The Gleaner that the 231-student institution, which was opened in 1996, is facing a serious crisis.

“Every morning, we have to spray the nine classrooms, and that is an additional problem, as the students with respiratory illnesses like asthma are affected and they have to stay away,” Brissette lamented.

Meanwhile, at the meeting, it was also revealed that another enforcement notice had been served on the NWC for a sewerage overflow in the Cherry Gardens area of Kitson Town in St Catherine.