Resurrect the tyre-mangrove plan

Michael Burke

Thursday, April 20, 2017    

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Easter, the feast of the resurrection, is the greatest feast in Christianity, not Christmas. If Jesus Christ was not resurrected from the dead, then what would be the point of Christmas or Christianity? It is the resurrection that gives us hope in Jesus. No matter how many times the point is reiterated, we simply have not been able to get people to feel as joyful at Easter as they do at Christmas. The difference might very well be in the presents at Christmas, encouraged by the advertisements, the decorations and so on.

Easter is also the main season for baptism in some churches. The symbolism of the season of spring, which is what the original commemoration was about, resonates with the idea of resurrection and baptism. The season of spring is about new life as the birds begin to chirp and the trees begin to bear fruit, especially in countries that have real winters. Both the resurrection and baptism are about finding new life. With the resurrection it is self-explanatory while with baptism it is about being ‘born again’ (John 3:7).

While the period of lent was for reflection, confession and penance, Easter should be about renewing positive resolutions, even more so than at the start of a new year. We are all too used to hearing ideas ad nauseam that die a natural death every so often. Most projects that do come to fruition are usually talked about for decades before the actual implementation.

In some instances talk alone without action could not be avoided, as it had to do with the unavailability of money, such as our new highways, which were conceptualised by Norman Manley and Noel Nethersole in the 1950s. But in other instances projects never get past the talk stage because we have a national tendency to talk and not move beyond that. And I use the above as means of getting on to a topic that some might have forgotten.

Every time there is a fire at Riverton City it causes danger to the health of all of us. It was agreed by many that if the old tyres are removed from Riverton City it would lessen the chance of uncontrollable fires, the last of which was in 2015.

Indeed, there was a news item that the People’s National Party (PNP) Government of the day had decided to use the old tyres at Riverton City in mangroves around Jamaica. That was a very good idea, because apart from lessening the risk of a garbage dump fire, it would also help to feed the people of Jamaica with more fish, and again we are talking here about renewing life.

I am not sure that had the PNP retained power the project would have started either. We have a way of forgetting things as soon as a disaster has passed. Are we going to wait until there is another Riverton City fire before we say we are going to act, only to forget it as soon as the fire is under control? What about asthmatics? What about the hospitals that become overcrowded? What about schoolchildren who faint in the smoke?

Thus, in the dry period when asthmatics like myself are not breathing so easily because of the dust nuisance, who would want a disastrous garbage dump fire to add to our troubles? Asthma and sinus do not have a religion or Christian denomination, nor do they support a political party. These are physical problems that affect people of any persuasion who are prone to these unfortunate conditions of health.

I have heard it said that the Caribbean Sea around Jamaica is one of the most overfished bodies of water anywhere in the world. The use of tyres for mangroves is therefore very important if we are serious about providing and even exporting fish. This affects everyone even those who do not eat fish. If there is no fish, the fish-eaters have no alternative but to turn to other meats, which creates a shortage of meat-kind.

Unfortunately, there is politics in the problem as indeed it arises in just about everything in Jamaica. Riverton City is in a solid PNP area. The last Government seemed reluctant to implement the tyre-mangrove project because old tyres provide an income for some Riverton City dwellers that support the PNP. I am suggesting that the Government buys these tyres from Riverton City dwellers so that they do not lose an income. They can then employ others to spread the tyres around the coastline of Jamaica.

The Jamaica Fishermen’s Co-operative Union is scheduled to have its annual general meeting next week. The tyre-mangrove project, which seems to have been almost totally forgotten, should be raised as a topic there. I am once again a delegate representing a credit union that is a member society of the Fishermen’s Co-operative Union. So at least I should get an opportunity to raise the matter there. I am sure that there are enough old tyres in Riverton City to circle Jamaica more than once.

Larger quantities of fish are in the interest of all members of credit unions that are member-societies of the Fishermen’s Co-operative Union. The artificial mangroves should allow the fishermen to have greater incomes. They should be encouraged to save some of their improved income in the credit unions. This would mean more money for members to borrow. A matter like this needs the support of the delegates of the fishermen’s co-operatives for the good of the fishermen that they represent.

We are still at a stage where many fishermen need more education. Too many fishermen tend to stop working as soon as they have made a substantial amount of money in a fishing expedition. They then spend the money carelessly only to be broke again until their next fishing expedition.

Since the younger generation is more educated than their parents, all fishermen’s co-ops should extend their common bond to the families of members. In this way the more educated youngsters can make themselves available for election to the boards of the co-ops and use their trained minds to improve the lot of fishermen.






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