Release Date: 
Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 14:00

The Opposition Jamaica Labour, through two of its spokespersons, has expressed serious concerns about the raging fire at the Riverton landfill and the way the facility is being managed.  Spokespersons on Local Government and the Environment - Mr. Desmond McKenzie and Dr. Andrew Wheatley respectively, have blamed the fire and others like it to negligence on the part of the Government and the agencies responsible for its operations.

The Local Government Spokesman stated that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA), and the Ministries of Environment and Health must take immediate steps to ensure that this situation is brought under control and does not recur.

Mr McKenzie said : "The frequency with which fires are breaking out at the landfill is not only disturbing, but distressing for persons affected by the smoke, the overhang of smog, and interruption in the ordinary course of business.  The Government and the NSWMA have again failed to protect the citizens affected by these recurring dangers."

Meanwhile, Dr. Wheatley who shadows the Environment portfolio said: "The ineffectiveness of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment has again been revealed.  The Government must ensure that NEPA, the environmental regulator, enforces the standards for operation of the landfill, and holds the NSWMA accountable when it fails to meet those standards.  This is especially important given the landfill's closeness to the country's largest population and economic centre, and the significant dislocation caused by fires like the one which has been blazing."

"NEPA must begin to assert itself and play a key role in ensuring that the landfill is meeting required standards, and along with the Ministry of Health, must discharge its obligation to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public", he added.

Mr. McKenzie has called on the Government to provide the necessary resources to both the NSWMA and NEPA to ensure that the landfill is properly monitored, managed and transformed ultimately into a green landfill.  The Opposition Spokesman said: "Government's failure to properly regulate and manage the landfill has continued in Jamaica for far too long.  Affected residents and the rest of us as responsible citizens must demand better and refuse to accept such continued neglect of this very real problem."