Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Algix not the enemy of Appleton

Published:Friday | April 22, 2016 | 4:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaican Court of Appeal's recent decision to uphold the injunction against J. Wray and Nephew Limited for environmental breaches in St Elizabeth is a step in the right direction. We view the decision as a victory, not only for Algix Jamaica Limited, but also for the preservation of the environment in Jamaica.

In February and March 2015, Algix Jamaica (formerly Aquaculture Jamaica) suffered two massive fish kills that almost wiped out our entire operation. In an effort to determine the cause of the damage, we called on the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to investigate.

During this investigation, NEPA collected water samples at various points upstream of J. Wray and Nephew's facility and downstream where the Black River enters the Algix facility. Its findings concluded that the fish kill was a direct result of damaging effluent discharge into the Black River from the Appleton sugar factory operation, which vastly exceeded the legal trade-effluent standards, in some cases by as much as five times the prescribed limit.

These test results, which were presented to the court, not only came from NEPA but also independent chemists. After considering the facts presented, the court ruled that an injunction be granted to uphold compliance with established law governing the discharge of trade effluent in rivers.

The injunction in no way halts operations at J. Wray and Nephew's Appleton Estate but requires it to adhere to regulatory standards that govern trade-effluent discharges into rivers.

The report written by NEPA states: "The results show the Black River is being negatively impacted by the Appleton sugar factory effluent as marked increases were observed in the concentrations of biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand and phosphate for downstream of the discharge."

In the meantime, Algix Jamaica calls on J. Wray and Nephew to take the necessary steps at its Appleton sugar factory to ensure compliance.

Algix Jamaica reiterates its commitment to assisting Appleton sugar factory in solving the problem. We have offered to bring in a team of experts at no cost to Appleton to aid in bringing discharges within the NEPA standards. These experts would endeavour to find a solution that can be implemented and completed within the shortest possible time.

MIKE VAN DRUNEN

Chief Operating Officer, Algix

mike.vandrunen@algix.com