Tuesday 14 July, 2020

PSOJ expresses concern after latest dump fires

Smoke from the Riverton City dump is pictured on Sunday.

Smoke from the Riverton City dump is pictured on Sunday.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has expressed concerned at the occurrence of yet another fire at the Riverton City disposal site in Kingston and at the Church Corner dump in Morant Bay.

This latest fire in St Thomas is the 11th such incident within two months and supports the view that many of these fires are acts of arson, the PSOJ said in a news release Tuesday.

Noting that the recurrence of these fires at several locations across the island has cost the country over $100 Million this year alone, the private sector lobby group described as “unacceptable” the exorbitant expense from already scarce public funds along with the debilitating impact the blazes have on the environment and on the production of goods and services.

The PSOJ explained that its concern is not limited to the impact on the business community but extends also to everyone whose lives or works within the environs of these dumps in Kingston, Montego Bay, St Ann and elsewhere who are experiencing respiratory ailments resulting from the smoke. These health issues will also negatively impact productivity and the quality of the lives of our citizens, the PSOJ noted.

“If we as a nation are serious about Vision 2030, we cannot continue to have these noxious and life-threatening emissions,” PSOJ President, Howard Mitchell, said. “Proper collection, management and disposal of our waste must become a priority if we are serious about National development. Successive governments have kicked this can down the road for years while making promises that have not been kept.”

Against this background, the private sector group said it was once again urging swift action to fast-track the divestment of the island’s  national solid waste management and the appropriate rehabilitation of the communities that have grown up around them so as to reduce the continuing pollution of the island and establish sustainable practices in the treatment of wastes such as energy conversion and recycling enterprises which will include empowering the members of those communities and building their self-respect.

The PSOJ said it is urging all Jamaicans to support the investigations and provide any information they have to the relevant authorities. Those who are responsible should face the full force of the law, the PSOJ said.

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