The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is calling for a “swift resolution to or a compromise regarding the controversial new tipping fee . . . to avert the catastrophic consequences which flow from poor waste collection and disposal”.
Shadow Minister of the Environment Senator Wilfred Abrahams made the call today as he commented on the impact of the five-day-old protest by private waste haulers and movers, who have withdrawn their services following the introduction of the highly controversial revenue measure.
Taking issue with Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe’s handling of the issue, Abrahams, who is Lowe’s challenger in the Christ Church East constituency, said there was too much at stake and the implications were too serious for the problem to be swept under the carpet.
He pointed to potential consequences for public health, the environment and the tourism industry.
Abrahams suggested that if Lowe was refusing to meet with the waste haulers and movers, he needed to step aside and let some else do the job. He said the Minister’s dismissive statement, “I done with Dem”, amounted to a dereliction of duty, which, in the private sector, would be punished with summary dismissal.
The Opposition shadow minister acknowledged that the establishment of the Barbados Sustainable Recycling Centre, which will benefit from the tipping fee, represented an effort to address the challenge presented by the ever increasing volume of garbage in the island.
However, he noted that a small sample survey taken among private haulers and movers indicated that waste was now being dumped in quarries, gullies and water course ways.
Expressing concern at this level of indiscipline, Abrahams said: “These sites are creating obstructions which will impede the flow of water when the rainy season kicks in within the next two weeks.”
He added: “The potential is there for the creation of landslides as well as the generation of new breeding grounds for the pests which our health care system has worked to reduce and in so doing has helped to enhance the status of Barbados.”