and "unacceptable" says the Mayor
There are major concerns being expressed regarding tons of garbage dumped on Marina Drive in the southern portion of San Pedro Town, specifically the section between the DFC subdivision and the town's municipal marina. It is an issue that the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) said they are equally concerned about. The council indicated that garbage disposal remains a major challenge for the local municipality. In fact, the amount of garbage generated by islanders is in the millions of pounds per year, some of which is not properly disposed of.
The garbage which has been mounting on Marina Drive is not only an eyesore but is an environmental and health concern, especially since it is located across from a water channel that is part of the Belize Water Service Limited water source used for desalination. Tons upon tons of garbage, from Styrofoam to old stoves, water heaters, television scraps, pieces of washing machines, discarded furniture and plastic debris are forming a mountain of garbage. It is an unpleasant sight to behold and is alarming health wise. But it is not garbage that has been dumped by the local municipality for landfill. In fact the Mayor of San Pedro Town Daniel Guerrero said that he is equally disgusted by the sight since it is not the first time the SPTC have been called out to remove the mounting waste.
"I went to the area on Monday (January 20th) and we took pictures so that we can share with our residents via social media because we want to show them the challenges we are faced with. It is shameful that we have residents dumping garbage there. The sight is unpleasant, plain nasty and unacceptable," said Mayor Guerrero when questioned about the concern.
According to Guerrero, over the past six months, they have cleaned the area about eight times, most recently in December, but it appears that people keep dumping garbage in the area. "It appears that it is people that are hired to remove garbage from private property - the freighters. People that drive vehicles with black license plates and even residents in their private carts and vehicles. It is a problem not only in that particular area but other parts to the north and south of the island. These people who are doing it have no regards for their municipality," said Guerrero. According to the Mayor, he has brought up the issue with private freighters in previous meetings and plans to raise the concern again when he meets with them.
When questioned about their plans to address the issue both in the short and long term, Guerrero said that part of the plan is to get the community on board. "These actions are unacceptable because not only is it an ugly sight, but it drains the resources of the council to have the garbage removed. Garbage is one of major challenges at the municipality and actions like these undermine the efforts we have in place such as our clean up and our civic pride campaigns that we have been engaging the public in since we came into office. In the short term, we are going to put our heavy machinery in the area to remove the garbage as soon as we have a break from addressing our bad streets. We will be putting up a barrier and we plan to hire someone to monitor the area to prevent people from dumping garbage there. It is an additional expense that we have to endure," Guerrero explained.
According to Guerrero, the municipality placed signs in the area to remind people that it is against the law to dump garbage in public areas. He said that people have ignored the signs. "These people have been breaking the law by dumping garbage. Let me remind residents that if they are caught, they can be charged and taken to court. The council will be starting to fine the people that are caught dumping garbage in public places and even those we catch littering. We have a municipal dump that anyone can use but some people simply don't care."
"We need the help of the community to report these people. Take pictures of them and share it on the social media and even with the local press so that we can embarrass those people who keep dumping garbage in public places. We are doing our best to address the garbage situation but actions like these make it frustrating for us." The SPTC is encouraging residents to be vigilant and report anyone seen dumping garbage in places where it is illegal to do so such as in private and public places. Those reports can be made to the San Pedro Town Council office. Garbage should only by dumped at the municipal garbage site.
According to the Belize Soil Waste Management Project, Ambergris Caye generates over 3,480 short tons of solid waste per year from commercial and residential usage. That is equivalent to over seven millions pounds of garbage and it is estimated that following the island's growth pattern, by the year 2030, the island will be generating over 37.5 million pounds of garbage per
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun