Vagrants destroying garbage receptacles around Kingstown
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November 1, 2013

Vagrants destroying garbage receptacles around Kingstown

Efforts to make capital city Kingstown a cleaner place, with the installation of litter and recycle bins in strategic locations, have encountered some early problems.{{more}}

As a result, manager of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) Garth Saunders is calling for law enforcement authorities to be more involved.

Saunders, speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, identified what he called “teething problems” with the latest initiative, which is a partnership of the CWSA, private company AIR Inc, as well as the Solid Waste Management Unit and others.

The plastic bins, found in pairs in the national colours of St Vincent and the Grenadines, have been placed initially in 17 locations around Kingstown, on Back and Bay Streets, at North River Road, Heritage Square and at bus stops around the city.

Plans to have more bins installed in the city are in the works.

Saunders said just days after commencement of the project, the initiative is being hampered by persons who intentionally vandalise the receptacles.

He is calling for the police to come on board.

“…We have been encountering the age-old issue of vagrants in Kingstown (who) are continuing to go to collection points and rip bags open, and in some instances, gone to the newly installed bins and ripped off the covers and scattered garbage looking for food et cetera. So, that has been continuing and I would dare say not enough response and cooperation from law enforcement.

“What we have seen so far has been vandalism, but that to me is en route to a bigger problem, which is the scattering of garbage….

“It is essential that the police take the Litter Act, which is a Public Health Act, not just the placement of litter receptacles in mini vans, it’s bigger than that.

“They must move towards enforcing the Litter Act in other areas… and we want them to focus on these areas like the environmental awareness and management that could negatively impact public health and this country’s brand and image as a tourist destination.”

According to Saunders, there have been talks with senior police officials, and plans are in the making to move forward to curb the problems.

Saunders has suggested the employment of litter wardens, as a means of increasing surveillance and monitoring of the situation, and called for offenders of the Litter Act to be prosecuted and vagrant vandals to be taken off the streets of Kingstown. He also indicated that education and awareness drives will be taking place in the upcoming weeks and months.

SEARCHLIGHT was also informed by Saunders that a number of business owners have taken offence to the placement of litter and recycle bins near their premises.

“We have got to a stage where we have provided an alternative, so persons don’t have the excuse for throwing garbage in the drains now, so we want to highlight that and to encourage persons to use the litter bins,” Saunders said.

“We can provide bins, we can provide the collection service, we can provide the maintenance of the bins… but at the end of the day, human nature being as it is, we have to continue education; but we have to have the police being vigilant and prosecute those responsible, and highlight the importance of having a clean environment,” he added.

The Kingstown Litter Reduction Initiative was launched last week, with a media briefing on the premises of the CWSA.

Besides Saunders, the briefing was addressed by manager of AIR Inc Mary Joslyn, Solid Waste manager Winsbert Quow, Todd Lewis, environmental health officer and supervisor of the vector control unit, as well as Greg Francois, collections supervisor at solid waste, and Joan Ryan, Marketing officer of CWSA.