Toilet beach - Vendors pollute environment, refuse to use pay lavatory at Rocky Point Fishing Village
There are two working bathrooms at the Rocky Point Fishing Village in Clarendon, but at the moment, the doors are closed because persons refuse to pay the $50 charged to use them.
Instead, many persons have opted to make the beach their bathroom.
"A food we deal with, and dem something deh nuh good for an area like this. Sometimes when you go down on the beach side you can smell it. Dem just draw the sand over it," said Elaine Clarke, who scales fish for a living on the beach.
The bathrooms, on what is one of the largest fishing villages on Jamaica's south coast, were part of a project to revive and uplift the beach. They were constructed through contributions from the European Union and other agencies. Initially, the bathrooms could not be used as they had no water, but that was quickly addressed and two women were given the task of ensuring that they were kept clean at all times. The $50 fee was implemented to pay for the cleaning of the facilities and to provide tissue and soap.
RESISTANCE TO FEES
But there was an immediate resistance to the fee with persons, instead, using the area behind the building as their bathroom. According to Clarke, the two women left and the bathrooms were shuttered.
"An arrangement was made to have them reopened, but the same thing started happening, and dem close it again," Clarke told The Gleaner.
She said that while she now travels to the nearby home of a friend when she needs a bathroom break, the facility on the beach was much needed.
"Sanitary inspector soon come here because a food we a deal with, and it no good for our health to have faeces in the open," declared Clarke as she pointed to some of her colleagues who she claimed are making a mess of the beach.
"It hard to see we who live in the district and don't want to pay the money to go in the bathrooms. We suppose to a set example for who coming in. Sometimes you will have some elderly people come on the beach and no have it to pay to use the bathroom, but you have some big man and woman who no want pay it none at all," added Clarke.
With some persons who use the beach calling on the Clarendon Municipal Corporation to ensure that the bathrooms are reopened and persons prosecuted for relieving themselves on the beach, councillor for the Rocky Point division and Mayor of May Pen Winston Maragh said that responsibility for the operation of the beach, including the bathroom, had been turned over to the Rocky Point Citizens Association Benevolent Society.
"They were the ones who had got this lady, and they said that to maintain the place, the people had to pay, and then ... nobody would pay. Them would do them thing beside the building because them don't want to contribute to the lady. So the association was the one that closed it," Maragh told The Gleaner.
"I will call the president of the citizens association and find out when is the next meeting, and if I can, I will drop in and see what can be worked out.
"I would have to talk to the health department and have them join that meeting as well, but the people definitely need to stop passing waste on the beach because then we will have to consider locking them up for their own health and safety," said Maragh.