Stench Plagues Pound Yard: Residents Demand Action as Odor Worsens

Stench Plagues Pound Yard: Residents Demand Action as Odor Worsens

For some time now, an underground stench has been brewing, and has been affecting businesses, commuters and pedestrians who frequent the Pound Yard area.  The situation has worsened, and residents can hardly bear the undeniable stench that hits the nose as you pass by.  Local authorities have been called to address the matter, but up to now, nothing has been done. Reporter Vejea Alvarez visited the area earlier today, and filed the following report.

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Putrid odors, dust clouds, and open manholes have drawn the ire of persons operating and traversing in the Pound Yard Area. For almost a month, water has been seeping into a nearby manhole, causing sewerage water to rise to the street’s surface. The unsanitary water settles and sends putrid scents into the air, which business owners say is only exacerbated by the dusty street and constant flooding. One entrepreneur, who remained anonymous due to fear of retribution, explained the conditions and how it’s cutting into her bottom line.

Entrepreneur: “You know like when a septic overflows ? Like that and we have a lot of businesses out here, food, everything out here this is like a main area where people walk. When it rains the water overflows so people walk in the septic water or whatever water that is. We have reached out to WASA, City Council and nothing gets done. Because of the smell people wouldn’t really want to buy food from somewhere smelling like that.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Olga Lenorio, co-owner of Marele Imports, says the situation makes her business unattractive to passersby. For almost two months, she’s been informing the council about an open manhole in front of her store that has injured several persons, but her efforts have been fruitless.

Olga Lenorio, Marele Imports: “And people every time when people pass around here they always complain “Oh it stinks.” and it’s complicated for them to also access the entrance of the place because it you noticed like right now it’s looking drier but when the water rises it gets very bad, it gets worse and we get people trafficking through up the stairs right here and when they come in the place they bring in mud and it really looks bad for our business and we have been complaining about it. I went to the City Council and I spoke to them also about the drain that is open there at the front there is a manhole that is open we have seen people fall in there, old men fall in there, the kids. When it gets flooded here you cannot see the sidewalk so it’s really dangerous and it’s really bad for our business.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Commuters are also up in arms over the odors they are forced to inhale while waiting for the bus. Mauricio Noble noted that, for him, the deplorable conditions are an eyesore.

Mauricio Noble, Commuter: “Yes this here is really upsetting to be coming here every now and then to get that scent it really just makes Belize especially with the tourists as well like when they come off the bus sometimes when they come from the airport they can smell it here. It’s just not a welcoming smell. It’s definitely not something that I enjoy smelling when I buy food of course. It’s not pleasing at all.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The Belize City Cab Union taxi operators say their plight is the continuous dust plumes sent into the air by passing cars. Wilwert Pinto says the issue is not only damaging to his health but costly to his pocket. 

Wilwert Pinto, Cab Driver: “While the rains came the street got flooded they came and they dug up the whole street and they put some white stuff now that creates more problems where now the dust has gotten ridiculous. I mean the dust we can’t stand it. I literally have to go inside and purchase water to smother down the dust on the street. The next thing is too the drain system. This drain right here where we’re situated has never been lifted up not once to clean out. The drains are all clogged up. One of the centerpiece of the drain is broken so what we have to do sometimes is stuff something in the hole so when it rains and the water floods that the people can know that there is a hole on the sidewalk.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: But who’s to blame for the issues being faced by these Belizeans? The Belize Water Services says not them. Our newsroom spoke to a representative of BWS who said, “Last Friday, the area was assessed, and the problem was identified as rainwater being unable to be filtered into the drain, which causes the water from the sewer to rise.” 

And while the call made by one woman to the Belize City Council had gone unanswered, Mayor Bernard Wagner assured Love News that the matter will be addressed as soon as possible. In an interview with us this afternoon, he added that he was never notified of this matter until today.  

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “I am not really aware of the situation but certainly I will have my city engineer take a look at the area that you’re speaking about and really identify the problem and thereafter come up with some sort of solution but I can definitely say to those in that area an the entire Cemetery area that we do have plans in the works as we speak to really address the Cemetery Street situation and I can say safely again that the entire stretch from the junction with the La Popular Bakery coming into the city to the Pound Yard Bridge will be concreted and that project is supposed to start very very soon within the next month. So I am very confident that the challenges being faced by the residents in that area, the businesses in that area will be alleviated pretty soon.”

Wagner added that the issue stems from bad drainage and poor planning that was inherited by his council. 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “Drainage is really inherited. Belize City is a very low lying city. We are practically below sea level and with the climate change impact that is occurring globally you have situations where instead of water being poured out of drains, into canals, into rivers and into the sea the reverse is happening where the water whenever you have high tide there is no where for the water to go but come in and so drainage I’m no engineer but certainly drainage will be one of the key issues for the city of Belize not only in my term of office but for future councils will have to grapple with the effects of climate change, with the effects of rising sea levels and with the effects of poor drainage network that has been here for the past fifty to hundred years.”

Wagner says the he’ll visit the area soon.

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