Members of the National Democratic Party government were this week at the receiving end of numerous complaints about the long-standing issue of improper garbage disposal across the territory.
The complaints, which also touched on the untimely collection of garbage by the Department of Waste Management, left Minister of Health Ronnie Skelton and Junior Minister of Trade Marlon Penn bemoaning the continuous struggle to have residents buy into the campaign to keep the territory clean.
“The issue of waste in the territory is a major issue. We have persons who are dumping refrigerators and stoves in the ghuts. It’s just really a bad situation for us right now as a country, and we have to do better,” Penn said. “The BVI is our country. We all have to play our part and ensure that we maintain this territory… The issue of waste is something that we have to tackle head-on.”
Penn, following concerns raised by a resident, stated that arrangements have been made to put a receptacle at a dock on the eastern end of Tortola. The dock area is ‘nasty and filty’ with garbage, one resident complained.
In response to that complaint, Penn said: “I have spoken to the boatmen in particular about the concern about the dumping of the garbage – the oil bottles and so forth. It’s really unfortunate that we invested so much money for our infrastructure to support them and to enhance their way of life and that’s what happen.”
“We’re working to address it; I actually had a discussion with the head of Solid Waste [Greg Massicote]. We are going to put some receptacles in the area to at least assist with the disposal of the waste. He (Massicote) is a man of his word, and I expect to see those garbage bins in that area no later than the end of this week,” Penn further said during the government’s NDP Radio show on Monday.
Litter wardens need badges – Skelton
During the said radio programme, the health minister, Skelton, also expressed frustration in relation to the issue of improper garbage disposal.
“We have to do something about garbage and garbage disposal in this country. It cannot continue. People just driving along, throwing bottles and cans into the bush. It needs to stop. Every single legal resident in this country has an obligation to try to arrest this issue,” Skelton declared.
He added that, in relation to the litter warden programme that falls under his ministry, efforts will be made to have the wardens more easily identifiable.
‘The litter warden programme is active; I have appointed quite a number of individuals to be litter wardens. The issue is some of the litter wardens – based on their concerns – felt threatened; and they were threatened on many occasions and intimidated.”
“There is one other issue that needed to put in place; that was a badge [or] some kind of certification showing that they are legitimate, authorized litter wardens. We did the ceremony; we give them their certification under the law. But they need something to show the public that they are who they say they are,” Skelton further said.
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