Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
IN KEEPING with the terms of its contract, National Solid Waste Management Authority ((NSWMA) collects garbage from the Old Harbour Bay Fishing Complex in St Catherine but there is no similar arrangement in place for the disposal of fish guts, offal, scale or other such waste parts.
In making this admission, Henley Banton, president of the Old Harbour Bay Fisherfolk Complex, said this was due to a lack of financing to effectively carry out the proper and timely disposal of such waste.
He told The Gleaner: "With respect to the guts and so on, there is a challenge there. There are some unscrupulous persons who vend under the arcade who constantly just throw the guts arbitrarily without any consideration for themselves or other people.
"There is no designated place per se but it is advised that when it (guts, etc) is stored it should be disposed of in the sea (and) it was suggested that a boat would take it to points beyond the fishing grounds, but because of financial constraints that is not possible."
Too cash-strapped to act
The NSWMA contract is for the removal of garbage generated across the entire complex which also houses a market, as well as other business entities and is stored in a metal skip that is cleared at least once per week.
While it recognises the importance of proper disposal of the fish guts, Banton says the council is too cash-strapped to do anything about it anytime soon. The question arose when The Gleaner visited the complex on Thursday, February 21, to cover the handover of igloos to fish vendors as well as life jackets and flares to fishers.
While the area for the handover ceremony was very clean, a few hundred feet away, right beside the arcade where fish is sold every day, it was a tale of two places. Discarded lobster remnants, old plastic bottles, plastic (scandal) bags, and rusting cans were strewn a few steps from where the boats land.
Potential buyers flocked to the vessels, competing for the opportunity to spend their money to buy sea products oblivious to all the garbage they were stepping over and into along the beach.
Old Harbour is Jamaica's largest fishing village and the domino effect of the economic activities there is immeasurable with the facility clearly in need of a structured disposal system for the fish waste.