Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Audley Gordon, has encouraged persons living close to the Retirement landfill in St. James to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a meeting with the residents and staff at the landfill on Wednesday (March 18), Mr. Gordon pointed out that the virus does not discriminate.

“We (NSWMA) are collecting out there and we collect everything. When a person with the virus uses tissues, wipes, napkins and masks, they throw them out, so when it arrives at the landfill, there is a good chance that it arrives alive and can cause persons to be infected,” he said.

Mr. Gordon also implored persons to practise social distancing, as this may also prevent them from contracting the virus, and commended the staff for their continuous contribution to society.

“A lot of workers in far less dangerous situations have chosen to stay home. I am not knocking them, as self-preservation is the first rule of nature. But you have a duty here on the front line and you have stuck to it and I am really happy [you did],” Mr. Gordon told the staff.

He assured that their work and worth is highly valued and all members of the organisation are “in this together and we will be getting through this together”.

Mr. Gordon also outlined that the agency will continue to ensure that staff members have all the necessary items to protect themselves from COVID-19.

In the meanwhile, Mr. Gordon informed residents at the landfill that the Government has identified land to facilitate their relocation.

This project is being undertaken by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, in conjunction with the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ).

“The Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has already identified land, not too far from here, to have proper and orderly relocation, because we respect your humanness,” Mr. Gordon said.

There are some 20 families living on the Retirement landfill.