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Poor garbage disposal woes hit MoBay

Published:Friday | March 4, 2016 | 7:09 AMOkoye Henry
Flooded homes at the Porto Bello housing scheme in Montego Bay.

The National Works Agency (NWA) says the improper disposal of domestic waste, is one of the main factors causing the clogging of drains in Montego Bay, a situation which resulted in the recent flooding of sections of the St James parish capital.

Speaking against the background of recent torrential rains, which left sections of the western city under water, Janel Ricketts, the NWA community relations officer for the western region, said the agency have since been clearing debris from roadways, major drains and waterways including the North and South gullies.

In bemoaning the situation, which many have blamed on the lack of civic pride, Ricketts stressed that the cleaning of the drains and gullies has been a repetitive effort for the NWA, which recently spent approximately $10 million to complete a similar exercise.

"We had cleaned the same sections two weeks ago. We had Zika Virus concerns and so we cleared several drains in and around St. James just the same," said Ricketts. "Even though we had worked on them earlier, we still have a challenge, but we are still working to have those areas cleared."

"While we (the NWA) have the responsibility for keeping the drainage clean, we also need the help of the people to dispose of their garbage properly .... they need to stop blocking the natural waterways. Those little steps will go far. You know you see some persons driving along the roadway and throw their garbage outside. It might seem like a simple thing for them in terms of getting rid of it, but it has a wider impact," added Ricketts.

While Ricketts was not able to say whether or not any infrastructural rehabilitation work is to be undertaken on the more flood prone sections of the city, she nonetheless pointed out that expansion work was recently done on a section of the North Gully near the Capital Heights community, near Green Pond.

"That section was under capacity, so you found that you had a lot of flooding and it was a challenge for persons who live in Green Pond, Cornwall Courts and Farm Height. In the future there will undoubtedly be more work as it is an ongoing effort," noted Ricketts

In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Montego Bay mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris, disclosed that approximately $20 million in damage was incurred due to the recent flooding. He said the Parish Council would be seeking aid from the Ministry of Local Government to cover repairs.

Creek Street, Dome Street, the Sign main road, St. James Street and the recently constructed Port Bello Housing Scheme were the areas most affected by the recent heavy rains.