Prominent businessman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams has given Government’s tipping fee experiment a failing grade.
The founder and chairman of Williams Industries Inc, whose Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre (SBRC) was built almost seven years ago to ease the pressure on the Mangrove Landfill, has concluded that the fee was not working.
Williams based his conclusion on increasing levels of illegal dumping and a reduction in the amount of refuse delivered to the SBRC.
The businessman said it was difficult for haulers to go to the Sanitation Service Authority to buy a book of tickets and take the tickets to SBRC to pay for taking the garbage there.
“That is an inconvenient way to do it. I don’t know why it wasn’t done so that you could just swipe a credit card and pay for the receipt of the garbage; that would have been so much simpler and cost much less. But anyhow that is how it was done and result is that the garbage is not coming to SBRC.
“So where its going? I don’t know and the impact it would have on our environment. I know for sure and I think everybody in this room knows, it would have a detrimental impact on the environment,” Williams told those gathered at Accra Beach Hotel this morning for the start of the Pinnacle Safety Solution annual health exposition.
He said the facility was currently operating at less than a third of its capacity because private haulers were seeking to avoid paying the tax.
“The intention was for them [the haulers] to add the tipping fee to what they charge customers for collecting garbage and bringing it to SBRC. But a number of these haulers, I won’t call any names, have decided that they are not going to pay the tipping fee. They charge the customer sure enough, but they would take the garbage and do whatever they feel with it, breaking the law.”
He said instead of receiving about 1000 tonnes of garbage per day, SBRC received about 300 tonnes.
“So where is the rest of it going? I don’t know. I have done some research and I have seen where some of it is going. Some of it is being disposed of on Zone 1.
“Now I don’t know what we are going to do about that, but the intention of the tipping fee was to recover some of the cost of disposing of the garbage so the Government wouldn’t have to support it entirely,” he said.
Last May, private waste haulers responsible for collecting most of the island’s garbage staged a week-long protest against Government’s May 4 implementation of the fee. At that time they had called on the Freundel Stuart administration to review the fee, claiming it would have major ripple effects across the country and could also force them out of business.