Another fish kill in the Rio Cobre has sparked protest from residents and fisherfolk as they call for greater accountability. In response, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says there are measures in place to address the longstanding issue.

The livelihoods and patience of residents and fisherfolk of Bog Walk and Kent Village in St. Catherine are hanging by a hook after yet another fish kill linked to the Windalco Bauxite Plant in the parish. Dead fishes have been floating in the Rio Cobre since Monday, August 2, sinking the livelihoods of many in the area and left an unbearable stench hanging over the communities.

According to NEPA, the average PH value for the lower section of the Rio Cobre is 8.2, and the section between Bog Walk and Linstead is normally at 7.2. The water was tested on Monday, August 2, and the PH value stood at 10. 5, which creates a deadly threat to aquatic life.

Senior Manager at the Environmental Management Subdivision at NEPA, Richard Nelson, says Windalco informed NEPA that recent rain on Sunday, August 1, caused an overflow of caustic fluid. He says the solution is for Windalco to construct additional storage for the caustic fluid, a process which he says has already begun.

As residents call for decisive action from the Environmental Agency, Nelson says NEPA has been tackling the issue. Windalco and NEPA are currently before the court for a previous fish kill.

More in this CVM Live story from Christeen Forbes: