ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Central Board of Health (CBH) hauled away three five-tonne trucks of garbage from one drain on St Mary’s Street – but Chief health Inspector Lionel Michael said he already foresees the problem recurring due to the erection of a building over the drain and continued indiscriminate littering in St John’s.
“Drains in St John’s are a problem in terms of the design and the way they are constructed and because of that we have several obstructions in St John’s. I see that problem will recur because of a building that was constructed over and in the gutter and that is impeding the flow of water,” Michael said.
The chief health inspector pointed out that the “wanton and callous littering” of cans, bottles and plastics in St John’s exacerbates the problem.
Michael said due to the magnitude of the blocked drains, a hole had to be cut to create an opening into the drain to remove the garbage.
He added the St Mary’s Street issue is just one of the trouble spots created by poor drainage design.
“What is happening in St John’s is that they build these drains and they leave the form board under the drains and the material drops down from time to time and obstructs flow of water in that drain,” Michael said.
“The way the drains are designed it has caused serious economic impact on the country; the cost of cleaning the drains in St John’s has tripled and quadrupled because the access to these drains has been significantly reduced. Manholes are too small, too narrow or do not have the right length or depth and because of that it is difficult to carry out high velocity flushing,” he said.
Michael said his department had received permission from the Public Works Department to “rip up and replace” sections of the drainage in St John’s.
According to Michael the work has already begun.
The chief health inspector said adding to that problem is a building erected by a contractor, one of several projects declared illegal by the Development Control Authority.
Michael said the building had hampered access to a manhole in the area.