First Look


Jamaica Environment Trust | 2018-10-18 15:16:00

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has received recent reports from residents of Industry Cove in Hanover expressing serious concerns regarding the construction of a housing scheme and the associated sewage treatment plant by the National Housing Trust (NHT). The residents claim that the effluent from the sewage plant is to be discharged into the sea at a public beach, which has been utilized by the community for more than 100 years. JET also received reports and photographs of destruction of mangroves. The community members allege they received no prior notice or consultation regarding this development; nor was an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) required by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

JET understands that the housing development began without the required environmental permit being granted, and even after a warning notice had been served by NEPA on the NHT, work continued on the construction project. The various permits and licenses for the sewage treatment plant seem to have been issued, but JET has long advocated that to issue all the required permits and licenses for any particular development at different times amounts to maladministration. How can a sewage plant for a development be approved (and construction underway), when the actual development has not been approved? JET is particularly disturbed to receive accounts of bullying and veiled threats being made against residents who have been vocal in opposing the development.

"We are frustrated by the non-responsiveness of the NHT and NEPA to our concerns," said Arlene Peterkin resident of Industry Cove. "NEPA - an organization charged with protecting the environment - has, and continues to be ineffective in addressing this matter." she continued. Residents have also expressed concerns over NEPA's approval of the sewage treatment plant, which they claim will not meet modern environmental standards, and is situated too close to their homes.  

The residents also contend that this site is unsuitable for housing, due to the natural resources that are present – the wetlands, seagrass beds, beach and nearshore coral reef.

Coastal properties are also at severe and imminent risk from the rising sea levels and stronger storms caused by Climate Change. JET contends that NEPA should not be allowing the destruction of healthy mangroves. Regardless of promises of replanting, the ecosystem functions and coastline protection provided by mangrove forests will be lost while new plants are growing.

JET calls on the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, and the Hon. Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments, to stop this harmful development and restore the damaged wetlands to their former state of health. JET also asserts that it is long past time for sanctions to be applied against state agencies which breach of environmental laws.

Posted By :Jamaica Trust

Company Name : Jamaica Environment Trust

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Company Address : 11 Waterloo Road Kingston 10 Jamaica

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