Government pledges to implement measures that will ensure that no waste is discharged into the Rio Cobre

The government has pledged to implement measures that will ensure that no waste is discharged into the Rio Cobre in St. Catherine.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness noted that at present, some entities have permits to allow discharge of waste.

However with the constant problem of pollution and fish kills in the Rio Cobre, which adversely impacts the livelihoods of fishers and other residents, Mr. Holness said a solution must be found.

Speaking in parliament today, as he made his contribution to the budget debate, the Prime Minister said the National Environment and Planning Agency, NEPA has been instructed to develop a policy that will ban the discharge of effluent. 

Meanwhile the National Environment and Planning Agency, NEPA says the fish kill in the Rio Cobre in St. Catherine earlier this month was a result of elevated p-h levels.

Responding to questions from Irie FM news, NEPA said the p-h level passed the upper limit for survival of aquatic organism.

NEPA said from its investigations, low numbers of 2 species of fish were observed to be impacted in the pollution incident which was reported on March 1. 

NEPA said during the investigation it found fewer than 15 dead fish over a 3 kilometer stretch of river from the observed point of impact.

NEPA added that it is awaiting  the outcome of the investigation to determine which entity is responsible for the pollution.

It said once the results have been confirmed, the necessary enforcement action, as prescribed under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority, NRCA Act, Wild Life Act, and the Fisheries Act will be considered.

In the meantime, NEPA said it is concerned about the prevalence of pollution incidents and subsequent fish kills in the river, therefore it is implementing a few strategies aimed at minimizing the occurrence of these spills.

The measures include the establishment of a pollution early warning system: an integrated water quality monitoring programme and intense auditing and profiling of facilities in proximity to the Rio Cobre.


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