City Council meets tomorrow to discuss garbage invasion

by Gwen Evelyn
Guyana Chronicle
October 13, 1999

WITH Georgetown under about 1,120 tonnes of garbage from last Wednesday to date, the City Council's administration is calling an emergency extraordinary meeting tomorrow to discuss the crisis.

The situation is particularly unwholesome outside municipal markets where piles of rubbish threaten to block roadways.

Upset vendors at the Bourda market said they are barely coping with the situation.

At Orange Walk, the skips are full to overflowing, and rubbish on the road will soon overflow into already blocked drains. One vendor attempted to build a wooden fence on the northern and southern sides of the garbage to contain the garbage, but this will soon be overwhelmed by the growing mountain of rubbish.

Large flies move among the garbage and the stench is nauseating to vendors and their customers.

"The situation is terrible. I can't take it," stall holder, Ms. Droopatie Mangal, a Bourda Market vendor says.

Mangal said her children remain with her everyday from noon when school is over for the day. But she is now concerned about their health.

Also, she is losing business as customers do not want to use the filthy, smelly passageway to reach her.

One vendor, not far from Mangal, was found closing her stall shortly after 14:00 hours yesterday because of the garbage situation. She did not open her stall at all on Monday.

"After a while, you will get sick here," she complained.

She added, "They know what's going on. What I say wouldn't make a difference."

Sister Lu, a chicken vendor along the Orange Walk block at Bourda, said the problem is aggravated by junkies scavenging in the garbage.

The upset hawker went on to point out that cow, fish and chicken entrails continue to be dumped on the garbage piles, adding to the stench and breeding greater swarms of flies.

"How much we must charge them for littering now?" she asked.

Vendors fear that the biggest stench will come when removal of the rubbish starts.

Contractor Franklin Singh was contacted to find out whether payments have begun. He disclosed that contractors have formed themselves into an association, and they have received only about 15 per cent of what they are owed.

This is not sufficient for us to return to clearing the garbage, Singh said.

Public Relations Officer at City Hall Mr. Royston King pointed out that the authority has received so far only $2M from the Government's Red House and Public Service Ministry, representing payment for 1991.

Nobody else has paid, King said.

King expressed concern about the likelihood of food sold at the markets becoming contaminated as the garbage continues to pile up.

"That's a serious matter," King said.

He added that according to statutory regulations, the areas around stalls that sell food must be kept scrupulously clean.

Deputy Clerk of Market Mr. Errol Brisport is also worried about the situation.

"It puts a lot of stress upon us. It's a distasteful situation, especially since people are selling near the rubbish."

The Cleansing Department at City Hall has been asked to spray market rubbish heaps to control swarms of flies.

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