International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Assessing Health Risks to Residents Living in Close Proximity to the Retirement Landfill, Montego Bay Jamaica

Abstract

 

The inhalation of landfill smoke and odour poses a health hazard to humans. This knowledge intensifies recognition of the public health risks these landfills pose to residents living around them. Though the effects of landfills on residential communities are well-known in literature, there are inconclusive findings in developing countries on the effects on living close by them. This study sought to address this knowledge gap by testing our main hypothesis that the Retirement Landfill in Montego Bay, St. James has an impact on the health of individuals living closer to it. The research questions looked at how health effects vary amongst residents exposed to landfill smoke and odour within 1-3km and 3-5km of the Retirement Landfill. Data were collected using a cross sectional study design with non-probability sampling applied. Interviewer administered questionnaires concerning demographics, medical diagnosis of ill health and general perception of the Retirement landfill were issued to a total of 384 household residents, with an equal split between residents residing within (1–3km) and (3-5km) of the Retirement Landfill.  The results showed that over 70 % of respondents displayed at least one health symptoms when exposed to landfill smoke while over 56% reported health symptom when exposed to landfill odour. Residents closer to the Retirement Landfill were three times more likely to experience respiratory symptoms and four times more likely to experience gastrointestinal health symptoms, as a result of the smoke and odour from the landfill. These findings strengthen our call for better solid waste management policies aimed at increasing operational and infrastructural efficiencies at the Retirement Landfill, through recycling initiatives and implementation of a sanitary landfill.