More Rio Cobre Fish Killed by Toxic Waste; Call for WINDALCO’s Permit to be Suspended

Well-known bauxite company WINDALCO (West Indies Alumina Company) is being blamed again for causing the death of a large amount of fish in the Rio Cobre River. In a new report, JET (Jamaica Environment Trust) is recommending that their permit be suspended and compensation for damages issued.

According to Theresa Rodriguez-Moodie, the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of JET, attempts to curb the pollution of the Rio Cobre by WINDALCO and NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) have fallen through and so for the time being, “I don’t believe that WINDALCO should be allowed to operate while this is taking place. We need to be assured that it won’t happen again…”

Reports from JET state that the call about the dead fish in the river had to be reported over the weekend to NEPA by the people from the community so they are “calling for greater monitoring of the Rio Cobre.”

It was also mentioned that NEPA has told the bauxite company that in order to prevent any more damage to the river, the contaminated water should be counterbalanced.

In 2023, Kesonard Gordon, president of the Friends of The Rio Cobre, had mentioned that after the river was polluted by WINDALCO’s toxic waste, NEPA had instructed them to refill the river with fish in May of 2023, but they failed to do so.

Rodriguez-Moodie also suggested that the fines for pollution need to be raised. “Polluters need to be fined appropriately and we have had very low fines for many years…we need to increase them…right now they are insufficient to deter any environmental violation,” she stated.

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