Fri | Jul 20, 2018

St Catherine drains, gullies in terrible state

Published:Saturday | June 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM

I congratulate the Ministry of Health on its efforts and timely advertisements, which have been geared towards public awareness about the dangers of the Zika virus, dengue, etc.

We are being asked to clean up our yards, but, unfortunately, the drains and gullies on our roads, in our cities and towns, and in our communities, which are chiefly the responsibility of the parish councils, and, I believe, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, are not being properly maintained, if at all.

In February this year, Noel Arscott, the then minister of local government and community development, announced plans for work to take place to address these issues, but the problems are still evident.

I have been living in St Catherine for more than 10 years now, and the drains and gullies, especially in Spanish Town, are consistently horrid. They mostly contain stagnant water with rubbish almost to the top. I can see this because almost all the drains and canals are open. Not only do the residents of communities have a responsibility to clean their homes, but the parish councils and the powers that be must do their part. The onus is not only on the public (citizens), but the Government also.

What is the sense of fogging when these drains and gullies are not being dealt with? Reports are made, but it takes weeks for the red tape to run out for them to be dealt with while the mosquitoes are multiplying. Mosquitoes do migrate, I believe, so we need to deal with these open sores.

Chik-V came along with dengue and went, and the offending drains are still in the same condition. Now, here comes Zika, with dengue still on an extended visit.

The mosquitoes cannot be eradicated if our drains, gullies, and canals have stagnant water where these mosquitoes can breed in bliss.

Furthermore, something needs to be done about those waterlogged, bushy lands on the Spanish Town Bypass and other areas as they facilitate the breeding of these mosquitoes. Owners of these lands need to play their part in caring for their land and getting rid of stagnant water (draining these lands). An alternative is to clean these lands and attach the costs of these works to property owners' tax bill.