Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, said that the government will be employing a more environmentally-friendly approach to tackling the mosquito nuisance in Portmore, St. Catherine.
“We are going to use a new approach. It’s a chemical, which will attack the (mosquito) larvae, which will be biodegradable,” he told JIS News on February 23 following a special meeting of the Portmore Municipal Council.
He explained that the substance will breakdown once it has destroyed the larvae, “and therefore will not continue on to pollute the sea”.
“What we are going to do is to use this as an experiment with approval from the Ministry of Health, to ensure that we bring the larvae under control. We are also going to remove some of the water lilies, which are also a source of (harbouring) mosquitoes, because once there is rainfall, it traps water and therefore is also a breeding ground,” the Minister said.
Mr. Arscott said the chemicals normally used in the fogging of mosquitoes need to be changed as they pose a health risk for many persons, especially those with respiratory problems.
The mosquito nuisance was one of several issues affecting Portmore citizens discussed at the meeting, which the Minister said was convened to “speak to the councillors and the staff to get a firsthand evaluation of some of the problems… exchange ideas and hopefully…come up with real solutions”.
Mr. Arscott said that another issue raised was acquiring a new office for the Portmore Municipal Council, which he said, is necessary, as the rent at its current location at the Portmore Pines Plaza is “exorbitant”.
“We are looking at some options. One of them is to build a brand new building from scratch. One is to approach central government (for) acquisition of the abandoned Forum Hotel. There are options we are exploring and we hope within a reasonable time, to present the people of Portmore with a new facility, where they can come to do their business,” the Minister said.
Other issues discussed were the gazetting of roads; illegal establishments; and contributions made to the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).
Following the meeting, Mr. Arscott was led on a tour of sections of the municipality by Mayor of Portmore, Keith Hinds.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter