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EDITORIAL: No excuse for helter-skelter dumping


EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL: No excuse for helter-skelter dumping

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UNSIGHTLY, DISGUSTING AND UNHEALTHY.

That’s the message conveyed by photographs published in yesterday’s SUNDAY SUN that highlighted the scale of illegal and indiscriminate dumping taking place across Barbados. Unfortunately, the pictures represent only but a speck of the magnitude of a national problem.

As a country, this helter-skelter approach to the disposal of garbage has been going on for too long. It is clearly time to talk less and take action against the culprits whose deeds put us all at risk.

This requires a national solution and there ought to be political consensus on resolving the problem, given the health and environmental implications.

This issue predates Government’s imposition of a tipping fee for users of the recycling plant even though this decision has been said by some to have contributed to the problem in recent months. The shortage of garbage compactors for the Sanitation Services Authority should also not be used as a reasonable excuse for the type of bad behaviour being exhibited by people clearly with little love for this island or interest even in their own welfare.

We must not forget that our eco-system and the underground water supply have been put at risk from time to time by the dumping of all sorts of garbage in ravines. The situation has now spread well beyond the gullies.

Many roads have become eyesores because of the level of garbage placed beside them, with some dumping in total disregard of warning signs erected by sanitation and health authorities. The attitude seems to be that the garbage is not at me and is therefore not my problem.

It is not surprising that environmental health officials are warning about a large rodent population in Bridgetown and its environs, but the reality is that this problem is countrywide.

The mosquito issue and its attendant diseases can also be directly attributed to illegal dumping.

We need to clamp down on this callous behaviour and have strong enforcement, whether it is against coconut vendors discarding their shells wherever they see fit, or an individual dropping litter indiscriminately. Environmental health officials must send a strong message that the nation won’t tolerate litterbugs spoiling the landscape. We cannot spend money continuously cleaning up after people who deliberately litter. Those caught in the act, whether dumping a small bag of garbage “at the front of the gap” or a trucker offloading his waste in a cart road, must be made to feel the full weight of the law.

If we are to achieve results, then the public health and sanitation officials with responsibility in these areas must be relentless in their duties. We can no longer tolerate excuses.

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