Business owners are again being warned that the disposal of garbage in skips provided for community use is illegal.
The matter came to the fore this week when residents of Rose Place/Bottom Town blocked the road to protest the presence in their neighborhood of a skip overflowing with garbage.
The residents claim that the garbage had been left in the area for close to two weeks before their action caused it to be removed.
However, one resident said the garbage was placed there not only by residents, but by business people operating in and around Kingstown and by persons not living in the area.
On Thursday, Winsbert Quow, manager of the Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU), told SEARCHLIGHT that they are aware of the issue in Rose Place and are asking business people to refrain from dumping their garbage in the area as it is illegal to do so under the Litter Act.
Quow said that business are, by law, mandated to pay private garbage collectors to take their rubbish to the landfill at Diamond but many businesses have not been doing this.
He said they instead pay push cart operators and other persons to place their garbage in the skips in and around Kingstown.
This act is punishable by law, with court fines up to EC$200,000.
Quow said the skip in Rose Place is for the residents’ use and for use by the nearby Public Health Department (PHD) which uses the skip as a storage point for garbage picked up from the streets of the capital.
“They throw …[the garbage] there so they full up the bin in the area, and that is a small bin that cannot hold the amount of garbage, so that is particularly what is causing the problem.
“We need help from the police,” Quow said, and called on residents to come forward and make the reports so that persons can be successfully prosecuted under the Litter Act.
The SWMU manager said when matters like this are investigated and persons charged, while some of the cases stand up, in many instances witnesses back down and the perpetrators go free because of lack of evidence.
Quow noted that illegal dumpers are targeting the Rose Place area because one of the main skips in the nearby Little Tokyo area has been removed.
Also, garbage can no longer be dumped in the sea or on the rocks in the area as the reclamation site has been barricaded in preparation for construction of the new port.
“We sympathize with the community because we think it is wrong and people need to do better than dump their garbage in the community.
“The fundamental cause is private businesses throwing garbage there. The responsibility for imposing the law is with the public health department and police so they will have to intervene,” Quow informed.
He is encouraging residents to make complaints directly to the public health department and the police.
“From our end, we clean every day, but that is a strain on us. I recommend, make the complaint and be prepared to testify as that has been a challenge with the enforcement of environmental laws.
“People complain but then they are not willing to give evidence in court so that stifles the process,” Quow added.
He said enforcement of these laws must be taken seriously as proper waste management assists in the fight against diseases like dengue fever.