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Silk cotton misery

Lisa King

Silk cotton misery

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The residents of Second Avenue, Greens, St George, are again complaining about the massive silk cotton tree that has been a source of concern for years.
For the past three weeks the tree has been shedding its pods, which produce a stench as they rot. However, residents are more concerned that the shedding of the pods is usually a precursor to a bigger problem: silk cotton.
In May 2010, the frustrated residents complained that the silky cotton fibres end up in their houses, their beds and even in their food.
Moreover, these fibres, which were seen floating over the district, have been the cause of respiratory problems for residents who suffer from allergies, asthma and sinusitis.
The residents said efforts were made to have the tree removed but they were informed that the tree was over 300 years old and could not be removed because it was a national treasure.
However, a 75-year-old resident, who chose to remain anonymous, said she knew when the tree was young and therefore it could not be 300 years old.
She said she was forced to seal her house because the pods attracted “mice bats” (mouse-eared bats), which got into the roof of her house.
Charles Proverbs, a resident for over 40 years, said that the tree produced the cotton every four years but every year for the last three years it had posed significant problems.
He explained that after the pods were gone the tree produced the silk cotton.
“At times you cannot open your windows, cannot walk outside because it is so thick you would think that it is snowing. If you walk outside and talk, it is all in your mouth and also in your eyes,” Proverbs said, also pleading for something to be done about the problem.
Elias Harry, another long-time resident, has taken on the daily chore of raking up the pods from his step and the section of road in front of his home.
He said he had been forced to shut his windows and doors but that made being in the house uncomfortable.
Christopher Phillips said another major problem was that when the sun went down “thousands” of the mouse-eared bats circled the tree.