Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Blaze at MoBay dump to be controlled by Wednesday

Published:Monday | July 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Audley Gordon, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), says that a fire believed to be set by arsonists at the Retirement dump in St James will be brought under control by Wednesday.

Smoke from the fire is said to be causing a nuisance to residents in sections of Montego Bay since Saturday.

Despite difficulties accessing a nearby gully where the fire was discovered, responders have been working relentlessly to put out the blaze.

"We are constructing an access road so as to allow firefighters to put out the blaze. Our team, along with the fire department, has been working intensely to get to the origin of the fire," said Gordon.

"We are very confident that the fire will be suppressed shortly. We have available several pieces of equipment, including front-end loaders, to manage the situation."

Chief executive officer of the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Suzanne Stanley, in a statement yesterday, said that the fire in Montego Bay, as well as a recent fire at the Riverton landfill in St Andrew, indicates inadequate dump-site management.

"The Jamaica Environment Trust is distressed to hear the news of yet another fire at one of the island's waste-disposal sites. Saturday night, JET began receiving reports that the Retirement dump in St James was on fire, which follows a June 28 fire at the Riverton dump. The recurrent incidents point to the larger issue of inadequate management of Jamaica's licensed dumps."

"Dump fires are a major and significant source of air pollution and are a public-health hazard for those living in close proximity to the sites. Retirement, Riverton and five other licensed dump sites suffer from decades of neglect. Proper, effective and efficient solid waste management has been a critical issue in Jamaica for decades, yet successive political administra-tions have failed to take action," Stanley said.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com