Tue | Aug 21, 2018

Poor management of Jamaica's solid waste, disposal sites a growing public health issue - JET

Published:Sunday | July 15, 2018 | 2:55 PM
A massive column of smoke emanating from near the Riverton City disposal site recently.

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is lamenting the failure of successive political administrations to effectively deal with the growing public health issue arising from poor management of the country's solid waste and waste disposal sites.

This comes against reports of a fire now at the Retirement waste disposal site in St James. In a release today, JET said it began receiving reports of the fire since last night, the second such incident in two weeks to occur at one of the island's disposal sites. It follows a similar fire on June 28 near the Riverton City dump in Kingston.

"Proper, effective and efficient solid waste management has been a critical issue for Jamaica for decades, yet successive political administrations have failed to take the necessary action," JET said in its release.

It stressed that "dump fires are a major and significant source of air pollution and are a public health hazard for those living in close proximity to these sites".

The environmental lobby pointed out that "dump fires are especially dangerous as they can emit dangerous fumes from the combustion of the wide range of materials contained within the dump - carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, volatile organics, dioxins and furans".

Consequently, JET is demanding urgent action from the government and the relevant agencies to address what it deems an urgent public health issue created by the regularity of fires at disposal sites.