Statia increases supervision to prevent illegal dumping

EUSTATIUS--Investigative officers in St. Eustatius have stepped up the supervision of waste regulations during the past several weeks in an effort to prevent illegal dumping.
There has been an increase in illegal dumping of waste in Statia, while the facilities for waste disposal are becoming increasingly accessible and the waste plant is open daily.
“Eighty percent of the waste brought to the facility is processed for free. Fridges, stoves, microwaves, furniture, old air-conditioning units and many other items are free of charge. The fees vary from US $1 for a used tire to $5 per 100 kilos for mixed waste. These are items that we still find at illegal dumpsites,” says EJL Services BV director and manager of the waste plant in Zeelandia Jeffrey Lewis.
Until last month, EJL was only responsible for waste collection, cleaning up the old dump site and managing the waste plant. Now the company is supervising rules on illegal dumping of waste as well. Two employees have been appointed as extraordinary investigative officers.
If it is established by whom the waste has been dumped, the EJL inspector can draft a report, which will be sent to the Prosecutor for approval.
The inspectors often find the waste themselves, but sometimes it is reported by residents. However, willingness to report is low in Statia and people do not like to be known as “snitches.”
Providing information about illegal dumping is confidential. The information in the report is reviewed only by officers and the prosecutor. The perpetrator in question does not get insight in the report.
One of the root causes of the problem is unfamiliarity with rules and regulations. Most types of waste can be brought in for processing at the waste plant free of charge. Especially when different types of waste are delivered separately, most of it can be processed free of charge, such as plastics, wood and electronics.
Another root cause of illegal waste dumping is the informal handling of waste on behalf of others by unregistered businesses that are paid to take care of household or construction waste.
Making use of unregistered waste transporters is in violation of the law and contributes to the growth of illegal waste dumping, the public entity St. Eustatius stated Tuesday.
The waste plant is open on weekdays from 7:00am to 4:00pm, on Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00pm and on Sunday from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.
If waste is collected before or after these times, it is more likely that the person who collects the waste may dump it somewhere illegally. Transporting waste from others is punishable if not in possession of a waste licence, unless the owner is traveling along.
Violations on the public road and on properties that can be seen from the public road fall within the inspectors’ authority to address. The Public Health Department has the mandate to visit a premises to address disregarded waste.
Places where there is a lot of dumping are often in remote areas. Zeelandia, Behind the Mountain and Road to Whitewall are notorious dump sites. These locations are patrolled often by EJL Services.
These areas are frequently visited by tourists and Statia would like to attract more ecotourism. That is why EJL Services not only works to punish violations, but also to create awareness.
The ongoing campaign “Each one, Teach one” in which three of Statia’s four primary schools are participating, challenges children and young people to make new products out of waste, such as bird feeders from recycled plastic. A campaign to increase awareness of the rules for waste disposal is to start soon.
The Dailyy Herald

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