Portland starts chik-V clean-up
Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland: FLAND leg of the national clean-up campaign, aimed at disrupting mosquito breeding sites and also to ensure that civic pride is restored in communities, was launched last Friday at Gig in Port Antonio.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito which transmits chikungunya and dengue fever have been breeding in various places across the island. Hundreds of Jamaicans have been affected by the chikungunya virus (chik-V).
"Approximately $4 million has been allocated so far. Today's launch brought together residents who have volunteered their service to assist with the clean-up exercise. It is a collaborative effort, as the health department, Social Development Commission, the parish council and environmental groups are assisting with the clean-up. The exercise will continue in other communities and monies are allocated to councillors to carry out the exercise," Benny White, mayor of Port Antonio told The Gleaner.
Old tyres, foam boxes, plastic bottles, and other containers filled with water, which contained mosquito larvae were removed from a nearby river by a team from the Ministry of Health. The river, which is located in close proximity to the launch site had become a breeding site.
Residents and other volunteers, who were fitted with gloves were out in their numbers with rakes, shovels, garbage bags, and machetes.
Member of Parliament Dr Linvale Bloomfield, who participated in the activity, said it was important for residents to become engaged in the exercise because an unclean surrounding is harmful to their health.
"We have seen what mosquitoes can do with the reality of the chik-V," said Bloomfield.
He added: "This clean-up exercise does not carry a timeline and it will be an ongoing effort until it becomes a way of life for every resident, who will see the need for a cleaner and healthier environment. Children and the elderly are getting sick from the abnormal practice of dumping garbage in rivers, on the beach, in drains or wherever we choose to."