Lamaha Park residents demand removal of illegal scrap metal business
It may not be as huge as the former Le Repentir dumpsite, but residents of Lamaha Park say that they are suffering similar environmental and health problems from an illegal scrap metal dealership, which is being operated by squatters in the residential community.
They have appealed to the authorities to put a halt to the problem before it escalates.
The scrap metal heap, some 20 feet high, is located on a Government/Council reserve at the entrance to Lamaha Park. Residents claimed that the culprits have been carting off material from their yards to facilitate their illegal operation.
Contacted last week, Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green told Kaieteur News that she is unaware of the problem, but promised to send an inspector to investigate.
“I will send an inspector to see if it is on our reserve and if (the area) has been leased out to anyone.”
She speculated that a dealer might be using the reserve as a storage area until the metal is shipped overseas.
In a letter addressed to several organizations, including the Health Ministry, Ministry of Housing and the Police Traffic Department, the residents described the presence of the scrap metal heap as “a situation which has developed into a huge environmental, health, security and traffic safety problem.”
“This business entails the stockpiling of scrap metal which towers almost twenty five high. Dealers can be seen dropping off large quantities of discarded articles such as truck bodies, car bodies , washing machines , refrigerators , bed frames, wheel chairs, hospital examination beds and many more items too numerous to mention,” the letter stated.
“Since this business began, residents have complained about disappearance of metal articles from their premises. Large sand trucks, often three at a time, are used to transport the material away from the site. The parking of these trucks, many times contribute to a traffic hazard, security risk and a danger to passersby which can be caused by falling debris.”
The residents also appealed to the Ministry of Labour and Human Services to investigate the situation, since, according to them, “boys of school age are seen engaged in packing these trucks and moving among the material with no protective gear for this type of activity.”
“At the end of the packing exercise all unwanted material can be seen at the roadside where futile and rare attempts are made to burn such material which in some cases ends up in the nearby trench or along the parapet.
“These huge infernos in most cases are lit at nights and give off toxic fumes. These fumes result in burning eyes, nose, throat and also cause headaches and respiratory distress. Some of the materials which are left on the road also contribute to damaging tyres,” the residents said.
“This establishment is a major eye sore and an insult to the law abiding/ tax-paying residents of the Lamaha Park Community.”
During a recent visit to the community, Kaieteur News observed some youths fetching scrap material to the heap on the reserve.