Highway construction dries up river fun

August 17, 2018
These youngsters were eager to show off their diving skills at the Ferry River.
Although sections of the Ferry River have been overrun by water lillies, that doesn't stop children from the community from splashing around in it.
This young man takes a plunge into what is left of the Ferry River.

Swimming in the Ferry River in St Catherine is more difficult these days. Debris, wrapped in-between water lilies, has taken over a large portion of the waterway, leaving just a small section for persons to swim.

Youngsters say that the volume of waste making its way into the river has increased since the improvement project on the Mandela Highway. They said, however, that the roadwork is not solely to be blamed for the pollution as persons often dispose their solid waste in the river that runs beneath the highway into the Kingston Harbour.

The pollution, however, hasn't stop youths from the Ferry community from somersaulting into the river that sits beside the road.

Residents said that since the China Harbour Engineering Company began work on the highway, some of the activities that were popular features on the river have died.

"The access weh wi woulda have to the river, wi don't have it no more," one resident said, pointing out that parts of the river where they use to swim, now have concrete columns. Tree branches have also fallen into the water, blocking the flow of the water.

In addition to the matter of access, the residents said that the road works have all but killed their fishing business.

"A pure river fish wi use to ketch from ova yah suh and sell back. Sometimes anyone a pass can get all some roast fish," one resident said.

"True di wul heap a work, everything back up, suh di fish dem turn back tru di wul heap of noise weh a mek out yah a day time. A sensible creature dem enuh!" one resident claimed.

Despite the social dislocation being endured as a result of the highway's construction, the residents dream of a day when things will be back to normal.

Dane Carr, for example, feels that the Chinese should be compelled to clean the river when they are done working on the highway.

"The river is there, it just need fi clean. If wi can get it fi clean, cause a wul heap a debris, wul heap a trees bruck dung inna it now, it ago come back to normal," he explained.

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