Dumping Concerns Increase
Indiscriminate dumping is apparently on “an even larger scale now” in the community, environmental officials at the Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited (GBPA) said during an interview with The Freeport News.
City Manager for GBPA, Troy McIntosh noted that illicit dumping is not only a cause for public concern but it is a serious problem with a costly solution.
“It’s very expensive to clean that stuff up. I’ve been here four years and the first three years, we would’ve spent in excess of $30,000 per year cleaning up illegal dumps,” McIntosh said.
Among the most popular dumping “hot spots” are easements on/near Grand Bahama Highway, Mayfield Park, the Humane Society of Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Sports Complex.
McIntosh said that the problem often occurs when residents who do not want to transport their waste to the landfill take shortcuts and dump large items in isolated easements near to their homes.
In an effort to curb the issue, McIntosh said GBPA introduced a bulk waste service in March that provides transport of major appliances and yard waste to the Pine Ridge landfill for local residents that pay service charges to GBPA.
This service is provided once a week from Monday to Wednesday with each residential area assigned a designated day.
The service works efficiently, given residents follow all the requirements, McIntosh said, adding that since its inception there has been “tremendous improvement” in the bulk trash pick-up.
Nakira Wilchcombe, environmental manager and chairperson for the Keep Grand Bahama Clean initiative, said that residents paying service charges to GBPA also have the option of taking their yard waste and bulk trash (not including construction debris) to the landfill at no cost.
She added that there are several options for others wanting to dispose of bulk items at minimum costs.
“The sporadic, or the casual dumping certainly doesn’t need to happen,” Wilchcombe said.
She urged residents and commercial companies to consider the “wider impact” indiscriminate dumping could have on the well-being of the community.
Noting that it is hurricane season, Wilchcombe stressed the importance of keeping easements clear in the event that an emergency call for maintenance vehicles to access utility poles in those areas.
Although environmental officials at GBPA continually appeal to the public, the littering and illicit dumping still persists.
McIntosh and Wilchcombe agree that this reality makes maintaining the environment a “daunting” task. Still, they continue their efforts, mainly through education.
“It is very important that our youngsters know the importance of keeping our environment clean… We are constantly trying to look at innovative ways to bring this message across so that people actually get it and it becomes a way of life,” Wilchcombe said.
“We believe that it’s everyone coming together, it’s everyone’s business, everyone’s responsibility to keep our home clean.”
By: Nina Laing
Freeport News Reporter