MoBay residents, businesses reeling from smoke nuisance

Monday, May 20, 2019

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) is appealing for a permanent fix to the Retirement Dump in St James following the smoke nuisance affecting several communities in the vicinity of the landfill since last week.

"The MBCCI is deeply concerned that just under a year ago this tourism capital of Jamaica was engulfed with smoke which resulted in major inconvenience and distress. We received several complaints from our membership and citizens alike, regarding immense discomfort and ill health ranging from asthmatic attacks, swollen eyes and the taste of electricity on the tongue,” read a section of a release from the MBCCI today.

See photos: Retirement Dump smoke affecting Montego Bay

“We also were made aware that at least one business would be shutting temporarily to avoid the inherent dangers of the fumes," the statement added.

Aubyn Green, a resident of West Village, a new housing development near Granville, St James, also bemoaned that the smoke nuisance is of grave health concerns.

"I have been under siege from smoke that has blanketed the community since just a day or so short of a week. The smoke has resulted in triggering my sinus headache, severe burning of my eye and all of that. I have to be locked up inside the house," Green complained.

Meanwhile, the statement from the Chamber noted that since Saturday the tourism capital has "again been under significant smoke ".

"The situation is grossly unacceptable and influences concerns as to whether:

1. The authorities are not concerned enough about finding a permanent solution to this problem.

2. The authorities seem not capable enough in finding a permanent solution to this problem," the statement read.

"We sympathise with all Montegonians and strongly encourage the authorities to, in a greater degree, avail themselves of expert opinion in addressing this perpetual challenge to avoid future torment to the people and city of Montego Bay.

"This matter, we believe, is not beyond resolve and certainly should be given the necessary attention as a matter of serious urgency," said MBCCI President Winston Lawson.

In the meantime, Sharnon Williams, customer relations officer at theWestern Parks and Markets (WPM) Waste Management Limited, said that the fire at the landfill has been extinguished just that there is a lot of smoke now in the area.

"We are presently using material to cover in order to suppress the smoke," she said.

Expressing regrets for any inconveniences that the smoke has created for residents, Williams promised that by Wednesday the smoke should dissipate.

The WPM Waste Management Limited falls under the umbrella of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).

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