By Carlena Knight
General Manager of the National Solid Waste Authority (NSWA), Daryl Spencer, is calling on residents to practice some sort of “civic pride and responsibility” in ensuring that the country remains free of waste.
Spencer was speaking on Monday on the Observer AM show specifically to the increasing concerns of illegal dumping and littering performed by persons in society.
He added that this problem has gone past a social issue and is now a psychological dilemma.
“We claim to love this country. We also make statements about how pristine other Caribbean countries are, but what we are not stating is the absence of civic pride amongst our people, and the absence of social responsibility amongst the people who call Antigua home.
“You cannot say that you expect to have a pristine environment on one hand, and on the other hand, you are a littering culprit, or you take part in doing all things necessary to degrade your environment,” Spencer said.
He further shared that it is not solely up to the government and other related entities, but also for residents as well to ensure that the environment remains clean and safe for all.
“Now, as we speak to a person just tossing something out of a vehicle, going hiking and just tossing your bottles, your cans, KFC boxes, persons have to have that sense of responsibility for the environment.
“This is how persons are hypocritical in that a person who hikes cannot say you appreciate, because I have listened to the discussions, you appreciate a particular location, it is so gorgeous and pristine and the government needs to do so much more so that people can do this or that. No, litter is not the sole responsibility of the government. It is not the sole responsibility of National Solid Waste, it is every person doing their little bit to ensure that the litter is disposed of the way it should be disposed of,” Spencer added.
He also advised persons when hiring these dump trucks to ensure that they go through the right processes to dispose of the waste.
“You should not be that resident or that neighbour who clears your property and throws all your trash on their property whether or not they live there.
“I know a lot of times when we speak, I call for people who hire truckers to ensure that you get what is called a load ticket from the landfill before you pay them. Essentially, when you hire someone to take away your waste, do not pay them until you see a load ticket, and the reason for this is that guarantees that your waste is disposed of the way it should be disposed of,” he explained.
The matter of littering has been a national issue for years with several different entities complaining about the lack of care residents have for the nation’s historic attractions, hiking trails and roads.
The Litter Control and Prevention Act was passed some years ago to mitigate this issue, and it made provisions for a specific group of persons known as litter wardens to have the power to document and report any sightings of illegal dumping.
Several other fines are attached to that legislation for any prosecuted litter bugs.
Just last year, a man was fined $3000 after he was caught by a National Solid Waste worker emptying his truck on Burma Road.