Ewarton residents want dust money ...Say bauxite company should pay them
Residents in the communities surrounding the Ewarton bauxite plant in St Catherine are complaining that aluminum particles from the plant are affecting their health and damaging their properties, for which they haven't been receiving any compensation.
Amoy Harris, a resident from Pleasant Farm, told THE STAR that her sinus has been constantly aggravated and medical experts have indicated that her place of residence might be the cause. "I have been to several doctors and they said that it is where I am living, with the pollutants in the air, that cause my sinus to act up all the time. I have heard of other people in the area complaining about the same thing," Harris said. "My sinus is affected terribly, and right through the day I have constant headaches."
Harris also said that she piles up huge amounts of aluminum dust from sweeping her floor on a given day. "I have a picture on my phone of the massive amount of aluminum dust I get from just sweeping the floor," she said.
Attempts to reach the management of Windalco and Member of Parliament Robert Pickersgill have so far proven futile.
Leon Israel of Cotton Piece district said that the noise from the factory has caused him to lose sleep. "At nights, you can hear the pipes that carry the mud and the caustic soda vibrating from a thousand miles, so nobody can sleep," Israel said. "A years now nobody nuh receive any compensation."
The resident pointed to rotten grilles and zinc, which they claim are as a result of the aluminum dust from the factory. They say that they have not received any compensation since former owners Alcan left Jamaica and Windalco resumed operations in 2001. "We had a meeting with the management of the company about two years ago and they were saying that production is down so they don't have any money to compensate us and that dust is not blowing," Harris said.
Another resident of Pleasant Farm, Janet Goring, said Alcan used to truly compensate for the damage. "What used to happen when Alcan was here is that we use to get the compensation and we could change our roofs as often as we needed to because the truth is that the dust from the aluminum causes the zinc to rot quickly. Every room of my house now is leaking!" she said. "They even use to compensate us for our clothes on the lines because they would be affected by the dust."