Chief Health Inspector Lionel Michael has hailed the post-carnival clean-up efforts a success, despite the Central Board of Health (CBH) having to operate with less than half of its man-power.
Speaking on OBSERVER AM on Friday, Michael said although CBH has a staff complement of around 140, only about 60 were available to work during the carnival season.
He also noted that unlike last year, the usual contractors to bolster the CBH workforce numbers were non-existent.
The chief health inspector identified the magnitude of waste, and the timing of the cleanup as the two main issues that demanded the attention of the department.
But although the post-J’Ouvert cleanup was one of the most challenging tasks, Michael highlighted the cooperation of participants and onlookers, saying: “I want to congratulate the bands, the troupes, mas’ players, and the public for leaving the streets of St John’s exactly at 10.”
He also pointed to the presence of mobile waste-receptacles among a number of the bands and troupes as the reason for what he believes was a slight decrease, from last year, in the amount of garbage on the streets.
“I see them doing that on the streets; this year, and so that may have accounted for less waste on the street itself,” the chief health inspector said.
When asked about recycling, Michael revealed that on-site waste separation has been done during cleanup for the past 12 years. He noted that for this season around 7,000 pounds of recyclable material has been taken to the ABWREC recycling plant at Powell’s Estate, with all other garbage going to Cooks Sanitary Landfill.
Meanwhile, on the issue of food safety, Michael indicated that there were only two preliminary reports of diarrhea coming out of the carnival season. He did caution that it was still too early to conclude findings, as many food-borne diseases have long incubation periods; but he reassured that, “yes, the inspectors were out there doing inspections — on the streets, in carnival-city, in the grounds itself, and in restaurants in the rural areas and in the city.
“Our plans worked. Everything worked according to our plans, despite the fact that we were significantly challenged with labour force,” the top CBH official said.