News

Rubbish!

NSWMA's views on closeness of dump site differ from Riverton City residents'

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 13, 2017



RESIDENTS in Riverton City are not satisfied with the explanation provided by National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) for dumping garbage close to their homes.

One day after the residents mounted a roadblock at the entrance to the Riverton landfill, the NSWMA held a press briefing at the disposal site in the community.

Executive Director Audley Gordon, who was quick to rubbish claims of dumping too close to their dwellings, yesterday explained that, as a result of the inclement weather, the agency took a management decision to temporarily dispose of solid waste at an open area that is used to store plastic bottles.

“To get to the existing tipping phase was proving very difficult. Trucks were getting stuck; we even have one that had some damage done to the back end. We had to make a decision. We opened up a temporary tipping phase nearer to the entrance, where it would be easier to access without navigating along terrain in the soft road where we already have the difficulties. Once we opened that on Tuesday evening our main piece of equipment broke down and that created some problem.

“We couldn't spread the garbage as we would normally do unless we have a piece of equipment. It is in that period that another difficulty arose, where we had to then look at where we were going to put the garbage because we were overflowing because we are not pushing or spreading.

We took a management decision — and I stand by that decision — to use a piece of open area between where we have some plastic bottles stored… on the river to temporarily put some garbage until the equipment started pushing again. They worked on the equipment last night, through the night, it is back up and running now,” Gordon explained.

When the Jamaica Observer arrived at the location shortly after midday, truck operators were in the process of relocating the solid waste.

Despite the explanation by the executive director, the residents said it should not have happened.

“Mi still feel disrespected. Is the highest height of out of order. Ah fi dem regular thing fi disrespect we. When dem ready, dem call we scavenger,” said the resident, who asked not to be name.

The resident, who stood inside her shop as she looked across at the landfill, said she was affected by the stench.

Another resident, Delroy Williams, told the Observer that the NSWMA could have found another location.

“Weh dem dump a part of the community same way. Children play over there,” Williams said as he pointed across the road.

However, a resolute Gordon argued that: “At no time did we dispose of any garbage among the residents of Riverton City.”

“Let me say emphatically that is not in the community of Riverton. It was not among any dwelling as is being broadcast in some areas. We did not dump garbage among the dwellings of the people of Riverton City. We wouldn't do it here or anywhere. We respect people rights... We understand the challenging circumstances under which our neighbours live here. We are the last ones to try and injure that, or create any further problems for them,” Gordon continued, adding that the NSWMA has an excellent relationship with the residents.

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