by Emmanuel Joseph
Government’s Environmental Health Department has launched an investigation into complaints of a newly-created dump site on lands owned by Asha [Ram] Merchandani opposite her Casa Grande Hotel at Oldbury, St. Philip.
A visit to the site this afternoon by a Barbados TODAY team revealed mounds of discarded tiles, scrap metal and other waste materials which emitted a heavy stench of smoke. Some of the material had already been compacted in the area of a well and what appeared to be a water course. At the time, a nearby tractor crawler stood idle.
A couple hundred metres away along the same Oldbury stretch of road, another pile of tiles and other rubble could be seen next to a pond. At least one resident told this newspaper that material taken from a recent fire at warehouses in the area had been spread across the area, within metres of houses.
“I personally identified burnt pieces of wood, lamps, melted comforters, burnt electric fans and motors, ring beams, concrete, tons of oil lamp bases and endless tiles,” said the resident, who asked not to be identified.
He also reported seeing five truck loads of the debris being dumped yesterday morning in an area that once was a water course.
The homeowner questioned whether there could have been any “dangerous” or combustible refuse that could end up buried and compacted at the site. He was of the view that the discarded items should have been taken to the landfill at Mangrove Pond, St. Thomas.
Chief Environmental Health Officer, Tyrone Applewhaite, told Barbados TODAY his officers had been put on the case and he had also informed the Environmental Protection Department.
When contacted, Merchandani said she was not dumping anything, but had given contractors work to do.
“I will call up the contractors right away and ask them what … they are doing,” she promised.