Plastic a major culprit in blocked drains – ministry

While noting the positive impact the cleaning of the city’s drains has had on minimising flooding in the city recently, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) is urging residents to dispose of their plastic garbage sensibly.

The Ministry is also asking residents in flooded areas to notify them immediately of rising water levels in their community as they have emergency crews on standby to help alleviate flooding in the city.  The Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s flood hotline number is 227-6887.

“We are encouraging residents to store and dispose of their garbage in a more structured manner because cleaning the drains and blocked culverts and kokers, at no stage we saw much silt, all that is coming out is plastic, plastic, Styrofoam and more plastic,” Community Coordinator within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Neilson Mc Kenzie lamented to Stabroek News recently.

Further, he added “We are also asking residents to call us and indicate to us wherever the zone is that is flooding and we will get there and once fixable, we will get it fixed almost immediately… We want to get persons sharing information with us because we cannot know everything. With that shared information, we will see and ascertain if we can remedy it.”

Mc Kenzie informed that currently the MPI has partnered with the Georgetown City Council and is working around the clock to desilt canals and clean drains, trenches and blocked culverts.

So far, he said that several canals, including the Lamaha and Liliendaal, have been desilted and cleaned as government prepares for the May/June rainfall and possible overflow.

Currently, contractors are working in the Subryanville area, which has in the past been flood prone and they are expected to complete works within the next two weeks.

The crew has finished works in Kingston and he said that he was happy to report that while there has been a great amount of rainfall over the past few days, that area has not seen the flooding it has become used to.

However, areas such as South, East and West Ruimveldt, Queenstown and Cummingsburg are still being worked on.

The MPI Community Coordinator informed that they have fixed several damaged culverts but that too many blockages have been because of the wanton disposing of non-biodegradable objects in canals, trenches and drains.

“To access those culverts is difficult and require persons sometimes manually having to go down in that dirty water to remove the plastics with their hands. We can’t help to over emphasise enough that persons have to be more mindful when disposing of plastics,” he stated.

“We might see people throwing stuff in a culvert area, I am asking that if we see persons with bottles, bags, any plastic garbage doing that please be that person to educate them about the ramifications,” he added.

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