NDC will not deal with health hazard of air pollution

Dear Editor,

I have been left bitter and disgusted by the biased operation of the Mon Repos/ La Reconnaissance NDC located in my neighbourhood of Lusignan. For over 4 years I have constantly complained to this body about a health hazard involving air pollution that has immensely affected my quality of life and cripples me with respiratory problems. My complaints have been answered with humiliation, apathy and a gross display of partiality towards my next door neighbour who is the cause of my plight. This man chose to erect a structure in front of his property to burn garbage from his business, and an outdoor cooking setup using wood to cook food for his bar. Both of these produce so much smoke that I am left constantly sick and have become a ‘medication junkie’.

After receiving no help from the police who informed me that this is an NDC problem and that they have no jurisdiction there, I visited the EPA and was told the same thing. Tenaciously, I held on for my dear health and went even further, visiting the RDC and ultimately the Ministry of Communities only to be referred back to the NDC in Lusignan and adding more episodes to my treatment as a second-class citizen.

On several occasions in my presence the officials of this NDC were instructed by the relevant authority at the ministry to investigate this matter fairly, and serve my neighbour with a letter instructing him to dismantle his incinerator and desist from burning wood in his yard, yet these officials of the people chose to ignore the instructions of the ministry. After persevering and a loud outburst (the meek, polite and mannerly are never heard in this society) I was able to secure an audience with the former Minister of Local Government in April of this year. In my presence this Minister instructed officials of the mentioned NDC on a certain course of action, failing which legal action would be taken against the neighbour, and yet lo and behold, to date this has yet to be implemented! From my experience I can only surmise that the NDCs operate independently and there is no body overseeing them because mine doesn’t give a rat’s tail about the authority of the RDC and the Local Government Ministry. I still don’t know to whom to complain, since I have been told that smoke doesn’t enter my yard. Apparently, smokeless wood is being burnt or smoke stays confined to a small space then disappears without being noticed ‒ or it is a solid entity. Have the esteemed servants of the people ever heard of diffusion?

How can we have so-called ‘sanitation officers’ working in communities who do not know the meaning of the word ‘sanitation’ and probably never heard of pollution in their lives? How can I clean the air that I breathe when others are polluting it? Smoke which diffuses into the air carries all sorts of contaminants which directly enter the body through breathing, and contribute to a host of respiratory problems. There is much fuss about cleaning up our country of litter on the ground but nothing about cleaning up our air. There is absolutely no sympathy for the asthma and allergy sufferers. I would really like to know about just one benefit we and the environment derive from air pollution.

Due to the fact that NDCs are located in communities and the officials are familiar with the residents, the threat of corruption and favouritism is greater. Which institution monitors the NDCs and where should I seek help to deal with my issue?

Yours faithfully,

Narissa Deokarran

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