While the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) is unable to indicate whether illegal dumping has increased throughout the country, SallyAnn Chisolm, DEHS chief health inspector, said yesterday that the matter continues to be an “unnecessary” challenge for the organization.
Recently, residents in the South Beach area expressed frustration and disgust over the dumping so close to their homes. Additionally, the owner of an organic material dumpsite off Fire Trail Road has also expressed concerns of the misuse of the site by members of the general public who often use the area as a garbage dump.
“Over the years, it’s hard to say if there has been an increase or a decrease, but we know that the problem still exists throughout the island, and not only New Providence, to be fair; this problem exists throughout all of our Family Islands,” said Chisolm, in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
She noted that since last year, the DEHS has instituted a bulk waste program that oversees the collection of bulk waste once per week. These contracted individuals remove large items such as stoves, refrigerators, televisions, toilets and more from the streets of the island.
“Even though we see persons indiscriminately dumping, there’s absolutely no reason for persons to illegally dispose of garbage,” Chisolm continued.
“What they can do is they can just call the department and we would send somebody there to collect their bulk waste for them.”
She added that since Hurricane Matthew, the government has waived the fees for the disposal of any and all garbage at the New Providence Landfill.
“Anybody who has any garbage, regardless of the type, they can just go to the landfill and properly dispose of it,” Chisolm pointed out.
“That in and of itself should have decreased the number of indiscriminate dumping that we have been having throughout the island.
“…So, there’s no reason for residents to indiscriminately dispose of anything because there’s no cost attached to it.”
The DEHS inspector insisted that while there are laws in place that can fine individuals as high as $5,000 on a discretionary basis, there are a limited amount of inspectors on the island to properly police the problem.
Chisolm called on the public to lend a helping hand.
“We are asking residents to help police the island with us; in that, if they see persons indiscriminately dumping, they can get the license plate number or take a picture and report that incident to us and we will further the investigation in order to rectify that,” she said.
“What we have done too as a department, we have started this year the environmental court, so the environmental court assists us in enforcing the penalties as it relates to indiscriminate dumping or any environmental infractions.
“But as aforementioned, we cannot be everywhere, so if the public would assist us when they see these environmental infractions occurring, to just let us know, and we will do whatever we can to rectify the problem.”