The people of the relatively new community of The Palms, Lower Estate, St George are complaining that fresh air seems to be a thing of the past in their neighbourhood.
And they are attributing the disturbing stench, which they said they have had to endure since May, to a waste dump at Lower Estate owned by waste hauler Anderson Fat Child Cherry.
One resident who spoke to Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity, said the stench was unbearable.
“I guess the neighbours are kind of accepting of the trucks and so on passing. It’s par for the course of having that illegal dump at the end of the road. But earlier this year around May, it started to have this foul smell coming from the dump, kind of like burnt garbage. At first we were seeing smoke coming from the general vicinity, then we determined it was coming from the dump and obviously smoke blowing down on us was pretty disgusting by itself,” he said.
There are only five completed homes in the area, and the aggrieved resident said none of the homeowners expected to be faced with such problems when they moved there.
He told Barbados TODAY their concerns have been raised with both Cherry and health officials on numerous occasions but nothing has been done.
“He says it is as a result of waste that he has been accepting from the sugar factories and he is in the process of putting soil on top of it and then wetting it and that would take care of the problem. We have had the health inspectors visit our neighbourhoods as well as the dump and they effectively have thrown their hands in the air because there is nothing else they can do. Up to today [yesterday], I spoke to Mr Cherry and he asked me ‘how was last night’ and I told him, ‘just as bad as it has always been’. And it’s bad,” he vented.
“I’m not calling him a liar and saying that he’s not trying to fix it. But the only method to fix it is to stop accepting refuse and garbage and to close the dump. Then work on the problem.
“His efforts aren’t working, they aren’t making a difference. Sometimes you go a whole day with that odour. Any deviation from that is because the wind changed direction and not a situation where he has gotten the situation under control. He has expressed that he is urgently working on it. But I want a result. I’m not too willing to accept that he is working to resolve the problem, I just want the problem resolved,” the frustrated resident vented.
However, when Barbados TODAY visited the quarry at Cherry’s invitation, there was hardly a stench, which the waste hauler stressed was what it smelled like on a normal day.
He admitted that there was a fire in the quarry back in May, but said it was quickly brought under control.
“Based on what the consultants said, we have to wet it and so on. This whole problem began because it’s hurricane season so the wind directions [are] all over the place. That’s why you’re getting all the different smells and so on. You are here and you can smell for yourself that it’s nothing bad,” he said.
“This is construction debris here. You have coconut shells, green waste, tyres, plastic bottles, metal and paper. These will turn into compost. People would see a garbage truck come and drop garbage and easily assume. But it’s all inert material here.”
Still, Cherry apologized to the residents, while emphasizing that he would continue to cover the dump in order to eliminate all odours.