There seems to be no light at the end of the virtual smelly tunnel for the people who live in the vicinity of the Lower Estate quarry in St George.
It has been a year since residents of Airy Hill, Flat Rock, Parish Land and Salters have had to endure fumes and the smell of burning refuse from the landfill operated by businessman Anderson Fat Child Cherry, with many complaining of asthma and other respiratory problems.
A town hall meeting was held back in September last year at which residents shared aired their grievances.
It was there that Cherry, a well-known waste hauler and owner of Jose Y Jose Liquid and Solid Waste Management Incorporated, had agreed to close down the facility.
However, while it is unclear if operations were still being carried out there – Cherry refused to provide Barbados TODAY with an update – the residents said the smell was getting worse.
“The landfill has just been really awful. We live right next to it, the gully is right there and it is on the next side of it so depending on wind direction we can smell it really bad,” Robyn Proverbs of Airy Hill said.
“Last weekend, from Good Friday to Easter Monday, it was bad but thankfully I was able to be out of the house but I came home and it was awful. We have had problems breathing; I am asthmatic and it can get really bad where I have to use my inhaler a lot more than I normally do. People in our neighbourhood have been getting sick all because of this.
“Everyone at this point just wants to see it close and everything taken out because it is out of control right now. Something has to be done and I don’t think Mr Cherry can do it alone,” Proverbs added.
Sixty-six-year-old Margareta Jessamy, who has cataract in her right eye, is convinced the fumes are making a bad situation worse.
“I have to get surgery soon on my eyes, I can’t open them on mornings and I believe the fumes from the landfill are making it worse. This is making my cataract worse and before you know it I may go blind. To tell the truth it is mashing up my eyes,” Jessamy, also of Airy Hill, told Barbados TODAY.
“Around 7 a.m. the scent is very strong and my eyes just don’t open. We had a lot of rain last week and the wind blew the smell up here. I had to close my side door because the scent comes right through the house,” she added.
Next-door neighbour Belinda Jessamy sang a similar tune, complaining that her sinuses were acting up, thanks to the landfill.
“I have sinuses issues really bad. Over the weekend the smell made my sinuses act up. I don’t know what is in the landfill but the wind burns my skin. I don’t know if it is the chemicals or what but it has been going on for too long now,” she said.
“It is really a terrible smell in our houses and it is getting worse and worse. We had meetings in the area, there was talk about closing it, I’m not sure if it is closed but all the talk we can still smell it really bad,” the aggrieved woman stated.