The graphic used by the Sunday Observer of September 6 to illustrate the story. (GRAPHIC: RORIE ATKINSON)
Following a Jamaica Observer exposé that unscrupulous individuals are using questionable methods to transport water to communities affected by the drought, a number of residents have said that they have fallen ill after consuming water sold by some of the unregistered operators.
“We heard about the story and we can tell you it is true. After purchasing water from one operator the other day I started seeing some bumps and fungus coming up on the skin of my granddaughter and I was wondering what was wrong and it was after that I found out that it was the water,” Merle Richards, one resident of Dover in St Catherine told the Jamaica Observer.
Similar concerns were expressed by Merlene Brown, who lives in the neighbouring Cherry district. “Some truck operators are bringing and selling water that cannot be consumed, and if persons are not careful they could find themselves in serious problems,” she said.
“The other day, at least two persons from my community fell ill after drinking some of the water they bought,” said Brown.
People living in Old Harbour had similar complaints.
“When these operators deliver the water you have to check to ensure. The other day, a member of my family drank the water and they fell ill and complained of stomach problems,” said one resident in Kitson Town.
“Sometimes when some of the truck operators bring the water come to us, we have to put it down and allow it to settle. The other day me try to drink some, it made my stomach hurt,” said Denise White, who lives in Kitson Town.
Early last month the Sunday Observer reported that criminals, capitalising on people’s need for water, were using unhealthy collection methods in order to fund their underground operations.
“Tanks that were used for other business are now being repainted and are being used to deliver water [and] there is nothing in place to clamp down on this practice,” one registered operator told the Sunday Observer.
In response, the health ministry said it would carry out an all-island probe into the actions of water truck operators.
“People have to be careful about some of the water they purchase,” said Marcel Williams, who lives in Linstead.
But as the concerns are being raised, some truck operators have come out to deny the claims.
“What is happening is that water truck operators are selling two types of water, one is for domestic use — that one is cheaper; and the other is for drinking purposes — that one is a little more expensive,” said one operator in the Kitson Town area who asked not to be named.
Another operator, who was seen collecting water from a canal in Cherry district, shared similar sentiments.
“What is happening is that some operators will go to areas like Ferry or nearby rivers to collect water. This is transported to homes as domestic water to be used for washing or bathing,” said the operator.
He explained that if that water is used for any other purpose it will cause problems.
Published By: The Observer
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