Friday, April 19, 2024

Resolve to end illegal dumping


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EVERY YEAR we make all kinds of New Year’s wishes and, despite 2013 being two days old already, it is still not too late for all of us in Barbados to have certain common wishes. One that is glaring is the wish for an end to illegal dumping across this island.
Our beaches, roadside ditches and sidewalks, vacant house lots and our gullies are all littered with solid waste – ranging from coconut shells to used disposable diapers – that does not belong there.
This illegal dumping habit constitutes one of the most unacceptable and at the same time damaging and costly forms of littering this country must deal with daily. The problem at Pleasant View, Cave Hill, St Michael, highlighted yesterday by this newspaper, is but one example.
The complaints about illegal dumping across our island have been consistent. They have ranged from throwing used food containers and cups through the windows of moving vehicles to dumping of construction waste on a neighbouring vacant house lot.
This only results in public health officers, the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) and the Drainage Unit, as well as private landowners having to respond to complaints and making good situations involving indiscriminate waste disposal. We recognize that this can be costly and frustrating.
Despite all the warnings about the damage illegal dumping can cause to the environment and complaints about creating an eyesore, the message seems not to have got through to many of our fellow citizens.
It is true that we still need to undertake major national efforts to separate and sort solid waste for recycling and composting instead of disposal. Such efforts must begin in each household as well as at all industrial and commercial operations. We must all play a part in helping to divert solid waste materials away from landfills.
While we wait for a meaningful national initiative to sort, recycle and re-use, we must be mindful that the SSA also operates a facility which accepts solid waste, so there is simply no excuse for illegal dumping.
As a small island state whose primary business is tourism, we need to appreciate that illegal disposing of waste does not only affect the country’s natural beauty but that it can turn away those looking for an unspoiled vacation.
But far greater than the tourism fallout is the impact on our health. Many of the materials which are illegally disposed of across this island can contain substances that pose a threat to the environment, wildlife and human health. This illegal dumping can threaten the quality and safety of drinking water supplies.
Together we must ensure that solid waste resources are handled responsibly and appropriately, in a manner that protects the environment and health of all Barbadians. Those who continue to dump illegally must be pursued and those guilty of such actions must face punitive penalties. Illegal dumping is just that – illegal. We must put an end to it.


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