By Rae Wiltshire
The smoke from a generator at Single Food Export (SFE), a factory in the Ruimveldt area is causing serious respiratory problems and might have been a contributory factor in the death of a woman four months ago, residents say.
Contacted yesterday, a representative of SFE said, “Dem ain’t got no smoke around hay patner,” When asked what then was the purpose of the two chimneys on the building, he angrily said, “You went hay, and talk de residents, why ya don’t ask dem da?”
The representative was then asked if the facility had been inspected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to which he responded firmly, “Of course!”
There was no smoke when this newspaper visited Ruimveldt, but one resident said the area is consumed in thick smoke when the generator starts up.
“When ya sleeping, ya could feel this smoke suffocating you,” Suvindra Samaroo said.
Another resident, Zahir Hussein, said his young son was admitted to the hospital and had to take saline, because his lungs were blocked up. Hussein said the doctor even asked him if he smokes around the child, which he denied. The man said the doctor told him to keep his young son away from smoke, but he said he has nowhere else to live.
Hussein took Stabroek News on a tour of the neighbourhood, pointing out the residue that the smoke leaves behind.
Anthony Cozier, whose wife died four months ago, said a post-mortem examination showed that her lungs were blocked.
But Cozier said he did not make any report because he has been squatting in the area for the past 9 years and does not have anywhere else to go. Cozier, the father of a 13-year-old and 15-year-old, said his wife was already dead and gone and there was nothing he could do about it, so he contends with the situation.
He said that despite his unfortunate predicament, his home is somewhat sheltered by neighbouring trees.
The people in front of his home experience the brunt of the air pollution, he said.
The man then showed Stabroek News curtains he said he had placed at his windows only two days ago and a considerable amount of black residue was observed on them.
Another resident said all of her children have asthma and the smoke is detrimental to them. “You can’t even get air in ya house, how the smoke so bad, you always have to close ya door,” the resident said.
She said the smoke also hinders her washing because it dirties her clean clothes.
Maria Shaffie said the smoke blocked up her lungs and she finds it difficult to breathe at times. The woman said the pollution is terrible and she is hoping to get a piece of land, so she can vacate the risky living conditions.