Garbage forces Portmore fishermen to stay ashore
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
Some small-craft fishers were still unable to venture out to sea late yesterday, following the flooding of the Causeway Fishing Village in Portmore, St Catherine, with garbage washed down from the Rio Cobre and the Duhaney and Ferry rivers Sunday night.
When The Gleaner visited on Monday, most boats were docked as the fishermen, whose vessels use outboard engines, expressed fear that logs, pieces of bamboo, plastic bottles, and other solid waste could damage their engines.
In addition, those who use nets to fish also opted to stay ashore, fearing that their equipment could get entangled or damaged. They agreed that it would be practical to not go out to sea for a few days.
"You have to just find [something to] do because it nuh make any sense you throw net inna this water," one fisherman told The Gleaner on Monday.
By yesterday, some fishermen elected to use oars to steer their vessels clear of the debris before starting their engines further out at sea.
Fisherman Felton Dwyer said the situation had severely affected his and the other fishers' ability to earn as the risk of damaging their engines was too great.
"Is more than $100,000 fi a new crankshaft, and you not earning nuh money when the engine damage. So it better you [stay] ashore, even if you nah earn because if the engine mash up, you nuh have anybody fi help buy it back."
Dwyer said the volume of garbage washed on to the beach was made worse by the poor design of the infrastructure, including the wrong placement of at least one of the groins (a long, narrow structure built out into the water). He told The Gleaner that this had reduced the ability of the beach to flush itself naturally, resulting in the garbage being trapped.
Evidence of garbage clogging the Corporate Area's drainage network was also very clear in the vicinity of Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston, where The Gleaner encountered a man trying to retrieve plastic bottles from a gully for sale to Jamaica Recycle.
The man, who gave his name as 'Mackie', said while the $7 per pound returns on the bottles is very small, it was his sideline business.