Jamaica News: Managing Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Audley Gordon, is calling on Jamaicans to be more responsible in the disposal of solid waste.
He said there has been an increase in the instances of illegal dumping across the island.
“All over Jamaica, we have seen a nasty practice that has developed where people just dump wherever there is an open lot. We’ve seen this in Kingston in particular,” he said.
“Fortunately for us, we have been able to intercept some in operation, and we have charged people,” he indicated.
Mr. Gordon was speaking to JIS News at a clearing exercise at an illegal dump site on Arnold Road in Kingston on Thursday (September 20).
He informed that the agency has not ascertained who is responsible for the illicit activity.
“We do know, however, that 60 to 70 per cent of what is here is construction debris – broken tiles, leftover marl and boards – which means that someone or some group of persons would have done some construction, and instead of organising to dispose of the refuse in a responsible manner, they chose to just dump it in this open lot,” he lamented.
He said that the owners of the property have been identified, and “we will be talking to them about how they can secure the property, so that we don’t have illegal dumping taking place there in the future”.
Mr. Gordon told JIS News that the exercise to clear illegal dumps is very costly, and the agency “does not have the resources to attend to every illegal dump site that pops up somewhere”.
“We have to come with heavy-duty equipment, trucks, plus man-hours. It distracts us from the other duties that we have, which are many, so apart from the costs, it is time-consuming,” he noted.
He made an appeal to persons who have construction material or large items of solid waste, to make proper arrangements to dispose of the refuse in an appropriate manner.
“Do not dispose of it irresponsibly by throwing it on the next open lot that you see. That’s not helpful to the environment. It is unsightly, it can pose security risks, health risks and, ultimately, cost the taxpayers, so we would not want to see a repeat of situations such as this,” he pointed out.
Mr. Gordon informed that within a few weeks, the agency will announce a major initiative that will see the NSWMA on frequent patrols to not only identify illegal sites but to catch people in the act of illegal dumping and charge them accordingly.
He said that when that initiative is rolled out, persons who practise such illicit activity “will find that it is no longer beneficial to do so, because they will be charged far more than the tipping fee for the dump”.
It currently costs $1,000 to offload solid waste at the Riverton City disposal site in St. Andrew.
Mr. Gordon said the intention is to force persons to dispose of solid waste responsibly by making illegal dumping extremely difficult and ensuring that they are “brought to book, so that they pay dearly”.
Source: JIS News