Do not dispose of waste in the nation’s drains and rivers. This was the appeal made by Deputy Mayor of Port-of-Spain Hillan Morean yesterday as he pointed to the clogged underground drains that empty into the East Dry River.
Noting the styrofoam containers and soft-drink bottles which spilt out of the drain into the river yesterday, Morean said: “We are seeing one of the reasons why our rivers are so dirty.
“A lot of food boxes are stuck in the drain, so even though the water is coming down . . . it cannot flow freely into the river. Instead, it is only seeping past the garbage and debris which does not help in heavy downpours as the water cannot run off and therefore it backs up.”
Morean said the Port-of-Spain City Corporation is was spending approximately $300,000 in its latest effort to ensure the capital’s watercourse, including the East Dry River, are cleared of slush and debris ahead of the rainy season. He said he was disgusted at the kinds of litter that had been collected.
The 85 truck-loads of rubbish collected between Friday and Saturday included old mattresses, construction equipment, tiling apparatus, food containers and plastic bottles. Morean said the rubbish collected is being taken to the Beetham Landfill.
“We will spend the money to clean the rivers but if they continue this, it will only become more difficult and more expensive,” he said.
Although Government has banned Styrofoam, there is still the issue of plastic bottles to be addressed, Morean added.
“We need to do better as a population. We are doing our work but it will be made easier if people do not litter,” he said.
He commended the Ministry of Works and Transport for their assistance in clearing the most of the drains throughout the capital.
Funding for this project had been identified from various areas under the City Corporation’s purview, he said.
“We really sacrificed that money to ensure this was done because we want to make sure that we are ready for the rainy season. We have had good weather so far, so we wanted to strike now and get it done. But we can’t be ready if people continue to dump in the rivers.”
Morean said in the future the City Corporation will be working more closely with the Works Ministry to maintain the East Dry River.
- Anna-Lisa Paul