The gate leading to the storage site in Freeport. PHOTO by DEXTER PHILIP

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EMA responds to medical waste storage complaint

...someone broke in, says company director

By SUE-ANN WAYOW sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

THE Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has responded to a complaint by residents of Calcutta Road No.2 Freeport, regarding the alleged improper storage of medical waste by a recycling company located in the area.

The company, Quantum Disposal and Recycling Service is owned by Kelvin Ramnath Jr, son of deceased former politician Kelvin Ramnath, who was also a former chairman of the EMA.

However, company director John Thomson has denied that the waste
was being improperly stored. He said that the compound had been
broken into.

A resident of Valley Trace, Maingot Road reported that "While cutting
the lawn, I discovered a bag of medical waste(sample cups of urine/fecal matter) which dogs brought into my yard. I took a walk next door and the site was the most disturbing I have ever seen. The land is filled with medical waste. Used needles, syringes, blood samples, etcetera. Aren't these supposed to be incinerated?"

The resident stated " No one will want to live near to a site like that."

Thomson said the the company was not responsible for the waste being exposed to the environment and that neighbours had broken into the facility.

He said: "Somebody went in and took stuff out. Everything was in the fenced area. Nobody was supposed to have access to there. It was just a temporary storage. We are in the process of establishing a new facility and a new CEC (Certificate of Environmental Clearance) application for that facility. The property belongs to Kelvin
Ramnath but everything is not operational anymore. The company is getting someone to dispose of what we have now, because of the time it will take to establish a new facility. We are working now to have the problem rectified."

Thomson said a meeting with the EMA was held yesterday to discuss the issue.

Dr Joth Singh, EMA's chief executive officer confirmed that meeting.
He said an official visited the site on Monday evening.

Singh said "(the official) did find containers with medical waste stored up on the property. Medical waste needs to be treated in a very particular way and there should be a proper means of disposal. It should not be strewed about like we would do domestic waste. You would have to incinerate it or you would have to bury it so clearly what is happening in that site if extremely inappropriate. "
He said another visit was planned for yesterday.
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