by Michron Robinson
Residents of Malton Road, Checker Hall in St. Lucy say they have had enough of constant sneezing, dusty air and at times black smoke and ash from the Arawak Cement Plant.
Today, after another weekend of pollution, they said, they want the matter resolved immediately.
A tenant of the area, Cicilia King, said that she found herself sneezing all the time and her dogs behave as though they are “catching heart attacks”.
“I remember they said it was something from Trinidad that would stop the black smoke and it stopped for a while so it was probably working but now it has gotten worse, it is back to how it was,” she charged.
“The only way how I see this stopping is if they close. What can they do but to shut down?”
Construction magnate and neighbour to Arawak, Sir Charles Williams, charged that the “stuff” being spewed by the plant was an environmental problem and a check of the sea water around the plant would show the soot in the water and on the bed of the ocean. He added that when people were talking the soot could also be at the corner of their mouths.
However, another resident of the area since 1986, who worked at the Arawak Cement Plant in the area of management said the smoke did not affect him much unless outside is extremely still.
“Instead of the dust blowing westward it goes up into the air and then falls back down on the neighbouring area,” he explained. “The dust does not interfere with the sinuses of my family or anything like that, but I believe that we should meet as a community in a forum or something like that to express our views.
“I know people one time had a problem where the quarry was concerned with the blasting but the quarry is not there anymore. It has gone further eastward. So that is not a major problem for us down here right now,” he said.
The resident who wanted to remain anonymous said he believed that everyone would have different concerns, sicknesses and ailments and that was his main reason for wanting to have a forum at which the concerns of the residents could be aired and reviewed.
“They used to burn oil before but now they have gone to something called pet coke and they have not come out and discussed it with the people of the community, which I think is very bad. They should have come to the neighbours and said this is what we are doing.
“It is a kind of dust that they burn instead of oil and I believe that is a very harmful thing for the residents. The pet coke is something black and you might see it laying it around and would not even know,” he said while pointing to some black spots on his garage floor.
Efforts to get a comment from management were unsuccessful, with General Manager Rupert Greene being said to be on holiday. email@example.com