Thu | Jan 23, 2020

Dust nuisance rankles St Thomas residents

Published:Thursday | December 19, 2019 | 12:34 AM
Norman Wilson shows the size stones that wash down on his farm destroying crops in Cambridge Hill, St Thomas.
Norman Wilson shows the size stones that wash down on his farm destroying crops in Cambridge Hill, St Thomas.

Norman Wilson is fed up.

The 60-year-old farmer is one of several residents fuming over the dust nuisance reportedly unleashed in the community of Cambridge Hill, St Thomas, by truckers contracted to work at a quarry operated by Caribbean Cement Company.

Wilson, who has lived in the rural community since he was a child, is blaming the virtual dust storms kicked up by the quarry operators, who make dozens of trips from as early as 7 a.m. daily.

“Whole heap a truck. One a dem make bout five trip, suh yuh know seh a big noise that fi di day. It rough! Dust right through,” he said, while admitting that water trucks sometimes try to suppress the dust.

And the nuisance is allegedly also triggering respiratory problems for others living in Cambridge Hill.

A resident who identified herself as Kim revealed that her son became troubled with asthma a few months after birth, and she has had to take the now two-year-old to the doctor about four times for the same complaint.

“It cost mi! Fi si di doctor, a $2,000, plus mi haffi buy medication,” the mother said.

Wilson’s quarter-acre plot of cherry trees is also impacted by the dust from the trucks as they travel to and from the quarry, which is licensed to mine shale.

“When the cherry blossom, a pure dust di truck dem send in, so it kill the whole a di front piece dem. When dust tek it, di blossom dem cyah get fi release,” said the farmer, who sells his produce to higglers for upwards of $200 per pound.

“When yuh in yah and hear di truck and si di dust, yuh jus shake yuh head,” Wilson lamented, pointing to the bare branches.

The Gleaner sought a response from Carib Cement Company on Monday, but none was provided up to press time last night.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com