Health Ministry partners with NSWMA to rid communities of bulky waste

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Ministry is partnering with the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) to rid vulnerable communities of bulky waste, which can become mosquito breeding sites.

“We have engaged the NSWMA, so they are going to be providing critical support, where necessary, to deal with solid waste wherever it is found,” he said.

Dr Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness

The Minister was speaking to journalists during a press briefing at the St. James Type Five Health Centre on Friday (September 6), which preceded a vector control tour of the Norwood and Flanker communities in the parish.

The tour was part of the Ministry’s enhanced vector control programme launched on July 1, which is aimed at reducing breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito in communities.

“You can be charged with harbouring breeding sites that create a nuisance to others”

— Dr Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness

“We are supporting all of this through a media campaign, and that is to create as much information as possible so that Jamaicans are fully aware,” the Minister noted.

He pointed out that citizens have a responsibility to ensure that their properties are free of mosquito breeding sites. 

Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, is a mosquito that can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever and other disease agents.

“For those who do not recognise that role, let us remember that you can be cited for a breach under the Public Nuisance Act where you can be charged with harbouring breeding sites that create a nuisance to others,” he noted.

The Minister informed that over the last year, almost 3,000 individuals have been cited for breaches of the Act.

“It is not something we want to do, but I think we have to find all the ways possible to bring the populace to come to terms with the [consequences of their] actions,” he said.

For his part, Chief Public Health Inspector at the St. James Public Health Department, Lennox Wallace, said that as part of the department’s partnership with the NSWMA, focus will be placed on constituencies where there is a build-up of bulky waste.

“What we are looking at now, in detail, are three constituencies in the parish – central, northwest, and west-central – for the immediate period. These are the areas which we have seen the bulky waste,” Mr. Wallace said.

He said that vector control staff will be going out with the Western Parks and Markets (WPM) team twice per week, to assist in the waste-removal exercise.