EDITORIAL - Stiffer penalties needed for illegal dumpers


Local authorities are moving to deal more forcefully with those who litter our lovely island by engaging in acts of illegal dumping. 
Whilst this is commendable, those who engage in such acts should not be seen to just get a slap on the wrist – they should be made to pay a stiff penalty rather than simply being given the option of cleaning up an entire illegal dump spot.
‘Blatant disregard’ for environment
That said, it appears that we have a nation of litterbugs in general and this issue needs to be dealt with. Some persons carelessly drop litter in public places in plain view of others, whilst others hide and dump a whole heap of trash in places where they are forbidden to do so. For some, it’s a once off activity, but for most, it’s an ingrained habit. It’s as if they can’t help it, unless they are policed. The mentality however is the same on both ends – blatant disregard for our beloved environment.
Some illegal dumpers are just lazy and want easy pay for easy work, and as such will hide and offload their trucks, regardless of who is affected. 
Take a drive around the island to any hot spot that happens to be surrounded by thick foliage and you will see the work of those who have no thought for the environment. You name it and we can be sure that someone out there has dumped it somewhere on our lovely rock.
Too little action
Now there has been much long talk about how illegal dumpers are to be dealt with. Some say a maximum fine of $5 000 should be the penalty for such an act. However, how many persons have received the highest penalty to date for dumping? Go ahead, take your time and see if you can come up with a figure. 
It appears that in Barbados, we talk too much and the action is not forthcoming. Once we find the perpetrators who have engaged in illegal dumping, we should fine them and still make them clean up their act.
So in essence, we need to see stiffer penalties handed down to those who engage in the deplorable practice of illegal dumping to help stamp it out. Again, this recent move to get 
illegal dumpers to clean up dump sites cannot be all there is to address the matter. 
We cannot allow persons to think that they can break the law and if caught, that they can simply clean up the site in question and that’s that. We must send a strong message that  illegal dumping will not be tolerated. After all, our health is at risk.
So the litterbugs as well as the illegal dumpers need to be put on notice that their bad practices will not be tolerated and instead of just mere talk, the authorities need to really get serious with those who continue to compromise, degrade and destroy our environment.

Barbados Advocate

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