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NCC ready to tackle seaweed

ROY R. MORRIS, [email protected]

NCC ready to tackle seaweed

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THE NATIONAL CONSERVATION COMMISSION (NCC) is lining up its artillery to do battle at the next invasion of Sargassum seaweed.

The top brass of the commission was on Brandons Beach, St Michael, yesterday, for a demonstration of the capabilities of a Cherrington 5500 mechanical beach cleaner, which has the capacity to remove several tonnes of seaweed and other debris from the seashore daily.

The three-wheel device, which “can turn on a dime”, cleans a five-foot-wide stretch of beach with each pass, with its hydraulic conveyor digging as much as eight inches into the sand, if necessary, to remove debris. The machine, one of two which the Government is buying, features an air-conditioned cab to provide an atmosphere of comfort for the operator.

Four NCC mechanics were among the first to receive training in operating the new devices as the exercise netted rocks, metal, bottle covers and other debris.

NCC general manager Keith Neblett had said back in September, when the decision to acquire the equipment was announced, that the mechanical cleaners posed no danger to the island’s beaches, and would be safe to use even in protected areas.

Speaking after the demonstration he said the machines were also capable of going “right on the water’s edge to collect oil in the event of an oil spill”. (RRM)