Over 500 farmers affected after Pomeroon Coconut Firm shuts down

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Fat Boy Coconut Ventures, which is being managed by Alphonso and Sons Enterprise, has closed its operations indefinitely, after it was fined one million dollars for dumping its waste into tributaries of the Pomeroon River.

The move will affect the livelihood of over 500 coconut farmers.

The fine was imposed last month by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after years of warning the company against dumping its refuse (coconut shells and husks) into the canals which lead into the river.

President of the Pomeroon Coconut Farmers Association, Glenrick Ali told INews that operations have ceased and many foresee grave economic hardships.

“It would be great economic hardship for now until they resume and we don’t know when. They might pay [the fine] but they still have to find an alternative means to dispose of the husk.

“They could put it on land but the Food and Drug Department would have to tell them what distance away from the bottling facility the husk would have to be disposed.

“As it rot, it would gather flies, roaches and so on. The company does not make use of the jelly so that would gather insects very fast,” Ali explained.

Efforts to contact Alphonso and Sons Enterprise for an update on how soon the company will pay the fine proved futile.

In a previous report, the EPA had stated that shells and husks are a major contributor to flooding and more so, it poses a hazard to the waterways, since residents rely on the water for daily activities.

Officers of the EPA had visited the area and had warned of the consequences if the company did not desist from dumping the waste. This reportedly continued and as such, the sanctions were imposed. The company had agreed to pay the fine within 30 days, which expired on July 31.