Disgusting, appalling, unsightly, unhealthy are just a few of the tame words we could use to describe the jarring pictures of mounds of trash uncovered at Bucks in St Thomas yesterday.
Freshly dumped chicken entrails and feathers, car tyres, coconut shells, television sets, a sofa and piles and piles of plastic bags and boxes were on display in the grassy field. The thoughts of the audacious offenders were clear: “Nobody’s watching. Who’s going to notice if we empty our truck now and be done with it?”
This wasn’t a Styrofoam container or two; this was the start of a landfill.
It’s a national embarrassment, and again solid evidence of our persistent bad habit of dumping our garbage in a most distasteful manner. This careless mentality that littering is okay needs itself
to be done away with.
It’s too common a practice for Barbadians to toss a plastic cup, a roti wrapper or a cigarette out the car window, or dispose a used appliance in a gully, or at the side of the road.
Enough is enough. This time around, and as should be in the case of any such incident, the offenders must not be allowed to walk away scot-free.
Too many Barbadians think it’s not a big deal; but illegal dumping is a crime –– not to mention a health threat: a source for breeding vermin, and potentially contaminating our water supply.
No doubt, the blame game has already begun.
The general manager of Business Services, Ernest King, whose company was hired to dispose the waste on behalf of his clients, told Barbados TODAY he knew nothing of the illegal actions
of his employees.
We have no reason to question Mr King’s integrity, but the fact remains the buck still stops at him. We hope his business had clear systems in place against illegal dumping.
Only time will tell.
Some quarters too are again pointing out that the Government’s $25 per tonne tipping fee imposed on waste haulers earlier this year was bound to result in illegal dumping, such as found at Bucks. We aver that while the tax measure merits a fair review in the interest of those who make waste disposal their business, it’s rubbish to justify the serious issue of illegal dumping on this matter.
There is no justification for the practice, particularly by those who dispose waste for their livelihood. At the end of the debate, this country is in a hot mess when it comes to the disposal of waste.
Foremost are the repeated troubles at the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) which does not have the manpower or the resources to adequately deal with the problem. Even more glaring was the concern expressed by the SSA’s acting general manager Rosalind Knight that the authority was powerless to prosecute offenders.
Said Ms Knight: “We are in the process of drafting legislation to give the SSA powers of prosecution. So hopefully in the not too distant future we will be empowered to prosecute.”
We say the time to act is now.
The Government must be more diligent about cleaning up illegal dumpsites and investigating these crimes to hold the offending parties responsible. It’s important to prosecute litterbugs and make examples of them to deter illegal dumping. If no one is ever held accountable, it sends the message there are no repercussions for illegally dumping trash.
This has to change. Maybe the time has come for authorities to install cameras at strategic points to nab illegal dumpers.
Still the best answer to the problem is in the hands of every Barbadian. We have to take charge of this problem from within
our homes. We must adopt the practice –– reduce, reuse and recycle, and when we have to dispose of garbage, let’s do so properly
and encourage others to do the same.