Sargassum seaweed has taken over Skeete’s Bay, St Philip much to the displeasure of residents in neighbouring communities.
They are complaining that the foul and pungent smell has become an overbearing nuisance and they are in urgent need of relief.
Minister of Environment and National Beautification, with responsibility for the Blue and Green Economy, Adrian Forde on Monday acknowledged the concerns and assured residents that his ministry was mobilising a team to rid the bay of the thick algae and accompanying strong odour.
Ninety-two-year-old Bayfield resident, Frank Mason, who is the oldest ex-fishermen alive in his small district said he could not take the smell anymore.
He lamented that at his age he should not have to endure such an awful scent so often.
“It has been affecting me from the time it came here. I can’t even draw my breath (properly). It is disagreeable and we mostly get it according to how the wind blows. All down Wiltshire Avenue you can smell it and it definitely needs cleaning,” he said.
Owner of the Plum Tree Bar & Variety shop Curtis Jordan said it was affecting people with respiratory conditions.
“It is affecting your sinuses and it is affecting asthmatics. We would like to see something done about it. We would like Government to intervene because it is affecting us really badly,” he said. “This is the worst it has been, especially at night. Sometimes outside is too hot to keep the bedroom windows closed but sometimes it is better to keep them closed. The scent still comes in when the windows are closed; it got the whole place smell bad.
“I have an establishment and sometimes people does come here and it runs them. They say they can’t take the smell.”
Yvette Brathwaite said the smell was disgusting and at times it was so strong it was like “you could taste it down in your throat”.
Theodore Clinton also suggested that it was too much for a group of workers to clean.
“It’s too much to clean and it is too far out in the water to access. And time you clean a section, it is back there again. But it is affecting me really badly, you can’t breathe properly. You can smell it as far as Stewart Hill, St John (about two miles away),” he said.
Residents in Skeete’s Bay Road also complained about the odour saying they wanted it resolved.
A man who only gave his name as Kadeem said: “On a daily basis you can’t breathe, almost like it is choking you. Sometimes it is not bad and other times it stinks so much as if it’s in your backyard. Even when you are eating it disturbs you. It’s like if somebody was taking a dump next to you.”
When contacted about the matter, Forde said the bay should be cleaned this week and an excavator would be sourced from the Soil Conservation Unit to remove the algae, where manual labour could not access.