Jamaica Gleaner Online TODAY'S ISSUE
Nov 29, 1999

Dunder pollution to end

Clarke and Hutchinson

APPLETON ESTATES said it has found a solution to disposing of the controversial effluent called dunder, which caused a furore among some residents and political representatives in St. Elizabeth. They said it was polluting the Black River, thereby affecting shrimp and fish production.

Managing director of the Agricultural Division of Wray and Nephew, Robert Henriques, said that after extensive research, including advice from experts at the University of the West Indies (UWI), they have devised amethod to use the dunder as fertiliser in the cultivation of sugar cane at Appleton.

As a result, he said, the sugar crop which ended last July represented the last time Appleton would dump dunder into gullies which eventually ended up in the river.

Mr. Henriques was speaking at a special ceremony for employees of J. Wray and Nephew to mark the 250th anniversary of the Appleton Estate at Siloah, St. Elizabeth on Friday. As part of the anniversary celebrations, a representative group of employees was presented with a gift package of a special blend of Appleton Estate Rum. Group managing director William McConnell, said each employee will receive a bottle of the special blend.

According to Mr. Henriques,Appleton was currently undertaking a multimillion dollar project to collect the dunder, which it would then spread over vast acreages of sugar cane land as fertiliser. He said it would be spread in such a manner that it did not cause any environmental pollution.

Mr. Henriques said the study was undertaken in response to complaints that the dunder, which used to be released into a gully near the Nassau Mountain, was polluting the Black River and was having an adverse effect on fish and shrimp production in the area. He said the study also showed that, used as a fertiliser, dunder would improve the Estates' yields of sugar cane.

The move was immediately welcomed by Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke, who said that while it represented an important step towards the disposal of an environmentally unfriendly product, it was significant that in treating untreated dunder it could be used as a fertiliser.

During debate on the Irrigation Act in the House of Representatives earlier this year, Member of Parliament for North West St. Elizabeth, J. C. Hutchinson, accused Appleton of polluting the Black River. He had suggested that Appleton put up a chemical plant to correct the problem.

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