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Ryan, Francois want end to illegal dumping

Ryan, Francois want end to illegal dumping

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The Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) is calling on the relevant authorities to enforce the laws aimed at deterring illegal dumping across the country.{{more}}

The call was made as the unit within the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) has been plagued with the problem of illegal dumping in capital Kingstown and other areas across the country.

Gregg Francois, Collection Superintendent with the SWMU, speaking on site at one of the problem areas in Kingstown last Wednesday, said that the dumping has been a persistent problem.

He added that there have also been instances where the ‘No Dumping’ signs have been vandalized.

“It just goes to show that these people have no heart, just utter disrespect. They have no concern and the Solid Waste Management Unit makes a great effort to keep this country clean and to see that there are people working against our best efforts,” Francois lamented.

“If we cannot gain control over situations like this, I’m not sure where we are heading as a people,” he continued.

According to Francois, there are a number of areas around the city where illegal dumping has been a problem.

He identified areas, including the intersection of Middle and Egmont Streets in the vicinity of Bonadie’s Supermarket, Halifax Street outside Marcole Plaza, Grenville Street and White Chapel Road outside Her Majesty’s Prisons.

Francois explained that the SWMU, like VINLEC, was only offering a service to the communities.

Enforcing existing legislation was up to the police and the officials at the Public Health Department.

“We are not an enforcement agency,” he said, adding that when garbage is put out on collection day the SWMU is responsible for picking it up. However, if garbage is dumped before or after designated collection days, it then becomes a public health issue.

Joan Ryan, CWSA Public Relations and Marketing Manager, added that there were also pockets of areas throughout the country where illegal dumping was a problem.

She said that field officers had begun complaining that various spots had been showing up all over the country.

“It’s as if no one is caring for the community anymore,” Ryan said, adding that it was as if persons felt comfortable throwing stuff anywhere.

She explained that the issue is cause for great concern, particularly now that the country has been ranked high in tourism.

“Advertisements and marketing could not have done it alone; what is being done on the ground makes a difference,” Ryan said.

She added that the SWMU was doing all it could to ensure that the various communities were clean, but the situation warranted all stakeholders to work together to contribute to making the country stand out as a tourism destination.

Ryan and Francois both also called on members of the public to look out and report any acts of illegal dumping and said that they needed to speak out against the illegal act.

“Unless the public takes an interest in what is going on and what is defacing their environment, this will not stop,” Francois contended.

Large commercial establishments across the country were also told that they needed to be responsible in how they remove their garbage.

According to Ryan, every business entity needed to include a holding area for its garbage.

She said that the SWMU was trying to deal with the issue in a holistic manner, but members of the general public needed to be more responsible.

Ryan also challenged the agencies responsible for prosecution to act, saying that such entities did not need for the CWSA to become involved before they take action against law breakers.

“We have given copies of the ‘Litter Act’ to the police and the Public Health Department is au fait with it,” she explained.

“They know what their responsibilities are and if we can have them on board totally, we now would become more efficient because our education and awareness is constant,” Ryan continued.

Under the Litter Act, Number 15 of 1991, persons failing to comply with “any of the provisions of this Act or any regulation hereunder in respect of which no special penalty provided, he shall for each offence be liable on summary conviction before a magistrate to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment and in addition he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars for each day on which the offence continues.” (DD)

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