February 5, 2014
More than 50 community members and industry practitioners who live and operate businesses in the community of Drewsland in Kingston were trained in how to safely conduct smelting to reduce industrial pollution in the areas.
The consultations and training were conducted by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recently. The consultations also focused on improving community awareness of members of the Greenwich Farm Community along the industrial belt of Marcus Garvey Drive regarding industrial pollution.
Anthony McKenzie, Director Environmental Management & Conservation Division at NEPA said that the Agency, "expects greater levels of awareness amongst residents with regard to public health from industrial type related activities as well as to achieve a reduction in possible risks that can arise from activities of this nature."
Margareta Skold, PAHO and the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Jamaica described the collaboration between PAHO/WHO, NEPA, the smelting industry and the community members as an excellent example of how a partnership approach that actively involves local communities can improve health conditions of people who live and work in the community and preserve the environment.
"Working together for health and development is everybody’s business and protecting the health of smelting practitioners will not only increase productivity but also improve quality of life," she added.
Drewsland residents commended PAHO/WHO and NEPA for the workshop. Cleo Josephs of Drewsland and a veteran in the trade said that he has been operating his plant from the early 70s and it still continues to provide him with an income. Now an established family business, Mr. Joseph and his son Javaughn are happy that they participated in the training.
"We feel good about the workshops that were offered by NEPA and PAHO," said Javaughn.
Meanwhile, Eric Cameron who operates a melting business in Drewsland said that, "I learnt to protect myself and preserve the environment and I am trying to implement what I have learnt".
NEPA and PAHO aired Public Service Announcements on radio on: pollution incident response, air pollution issues and the safety for smelters.
Smelting is a process involving the use of scrap metals which is heated at high temperatures until it becomes liquid. The liquid is then poured into moulds to make different items for use by households or industries. These products include pots, spoons, stove replacements as well as items produced for the construction industry.