Our Readers' Opinions
September 16, 2005
Health issues need attention

Editor: We are being warned now by our health officials of the potential deadly effects of leptospirosis, a disease spread through contact with the urine of infected animals.

Might not a flood of water running off of dozens of square miles of pastures, overflowing septic systems and out-houses attract some attention from the Government? The same day that the Milton Cato Hospital in Kingstown flooded, dozens of homes were inundated and concrete bloc walls were washed away in the Cane Grove area. {{more}}The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) as well as the Ministry of Health an Environment were contacted. A meeting was arranged with the M.P. from the area (coincidentally, Dr. Slater, the Minister of Health and the Environment), but other matters required his attention. I will quote from only a small section of the minutes of the meeting that was held in the Minister’s absence where a total of 22 homeowners were in attendance:

“It was very strongly expressed that this is an immediate health and safety issue. Many people suffered financial losses of one kind or another during the most recent flood, but the greatest concern was expressed over potential health and safety issues.

“The situation has existed for many years, and individuals have brought it to the attention of the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing, to no effect, but it has become more serious now that new streets have been constructed and more residents have moved into the area, and more houses are being constructed. More streets and homes mean less open ground available to absorb the rain, hence increasing runoff and more residents negatively impacted.

“Complicating the drainage problem is a) the garbage, waste products, sewerage etc. that washes down from above, and b) the waste fluids from the automotive repair facility at the bottom of the hill: transmission fluid, oil, brake fluid, solvents, etc. that accumulate in the resulting “lake” and back up on the property of the surrounding residents. These are hazardous materials that should be properly stored and disposed of, not allowed to drain into the street.”

The root causes of this situation are well known both to the Government and to the local residents. If this drainage problem is not solved, the runoff from the lands above Cane Grove flooding their yards containing wild and domestic animal urine, as well as a plethora of other toxins and contaminants, can ultimately result in an out break of typhus, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, and various water borne parasitic diseases and infections. How many people need to become sick or suffer additional property losses before some branch of the Government decides to take action?

A Cane Grove Resident