The authorities are facing an uphill battle in their attempts to convince the men who wash cars at Country Pond to find an alternative spot to ply their trade owing to the contaminated water.
A report stating that the water is highly contaminated with human and animal effluent and is therefore unfit for human contact was publicized on Thursday. Chief Health Inspector Lionel Michael’s disclosure followed initial reports in August that the water was suspect.
But like they were months ago, the men who was cars at the city spot remained defiant on Friday, as were their clients.
In fact, business was booming on New Year’s Eve, with drivers seemingly more interested in getting their vehicles to sparkle and shine than in the state of the water that would be used to do the job.
Men with whom OBSERVER spoke shared the same sentiment, which was, basically, “we’ve been doing this for years and we’ve been okay.”
The underlying factor was their ability to make a living, a point noted by Member of Parliament for St John’s City South Steadroy Benjamin.
“We’re concerned about what is going to happen to the environment in the long run. We are going to have to speak to the car washers to let them understand that it is for their own safety, and we are going to have to find some other means of letting them ply their trade,” Benjamin said.
The MP noted that some of the men have worked at Country Pond for decades, but said “public health must be considered.”
He said he would comment further after a “meeting of the minds.”
Michael, meanwhile, said there will be consultations with other government agencies to craft a solution to the problem.
The solutions under consideration so far are treating the water onsite before it’s used, providing an alternate supply, and redesigning the sewage systems at the bus station and the government complex.