Keep it clean!

Posted By: weile

Keep it clean! - 10/31/05 11:15 PM

Since this discussion kinda started (yes, I am guilty) after Jesse's funny cartoon in the General Chat area, lets take it to where it really belongs: Living In Belize...

This is about the roads on our island.

Living in Belize also means respecting the fact that we are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, so why screw it all up by disrespecting the grounds we walk and live on, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the fish and veggies we eat etc...

It is sad to see educated people with enough money to build great resorts and wonderful homes, and who are yet not capable of mobilizing the cash and brain power to pay somebody to clean up their mess and invest a couple of thousands in a decent incenerator.

I gues the only people who can answer my question are the ones who are responible for the pollution. My question is very simple: Why don't you care?

Anyone who think that batteries, styrofoam, fiberglass insulation, paint buckets etc. make great land- and road fill, should have their heads examined. I hope that all us "locals" can join forces and stop the nasty things that take place. The worst places at this point are the road north (you know who you are) and (even worse) the lagoon in the back, especially the new road south to the new barge landing.

I am about to gather pictures and other info for the health inspector and the town board, so we can (hopefully) put a stop to this very bad situation before it gets out of hand. Anyone living here who would like to support this, should contact me.

I don't hate the people who ruin our environment. I just feel sorry for their ignorance. So let's help them understand...

Ebbe Weile
[email protected]
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Keep it clean! - 10/31/05 11:24 PM

Start by putting a 10 cent deposit on plastic water bottles and banning shilling bags of water. Those 2 things alone would have a huge impact.

You don't see much glass on the road as there are people who pick them up. Why? Because they have value, plastic bottles don't. Plastic bag (shilling) waters are thrown on the ground about 95% of the time from what I've seen.
Posted By: deacon+

Re: Keep it clean! - 10/31/05 11:25 PM

Well put. I am surprised it has been aloud to get to the point that it is even worth mentioning.
Posted By: weile

Re: Keep it clean! - 10/31/05 11:29 PM

Simon, you are one of the coolest people on this board, but with all due respect: It is not about the occational water bottle. It is about the mentality that make educated people with enough recources "not give a shit" as long as the beachfront looks like a million dollars.
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 12:44 AM

I'll second that Ebbe and would help you in your quest. We have a number of places on the South end that should be "educated". We all have a responsibilty to our environment and the island we love.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 12:48 AM

True, but you have to start with something and that's an easy one.

If property owners are dumping best I could find in reference is Chapter 224 of the Waste Management Act:

(5) It shall be the responsibility of contractors to remove and dispose of
all construction waste material resulting from new construction or other works
on or at any premises.
(6) In the event a contractor fails to remove construction waste material
when required to do so by the Authority, the Authority may remove such
materials and recover the cost of such removal from the contractor.

So, with that in mind it should be a simple process (yeah, right) to have town council come in and by whatever means necessary remove said garbage and bill the property owner. Hit them hard in the pocketbook!
Posted By: boyce1

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 01:07 AM

Just out of curiosity, do the glass containers have value because of a deposit or as “scrap”?

Oh and in the post above it says construction debris removal is the responsibility of the contractor then in the last sentence it says bill the property owner. Does that mean that the owner must then try to recover from the contractor (good luck LOL)?

In any event I hope you are successful in your endeavor!
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 01:16 AM

We have a pile of debris (construction) and styrofoam as well as a tangle of demolished cars behind our house. Courtesy of Royal Caribean Resort. To date politely asking cooperation from the owners or requests from the town board have failed. The area has become a breeding area for mosquitos as well. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Posted By: WhiteWater

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 01:42 AM

Is there an authority that can put a lien on the property if the contractor has not complied with the waste management act? I'm ignorant here, just a thought.
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 02:06 AM

It seems to be more of a "if it's private property, we can't do anything" response. Yes, there are some laws about abandonded cars, or health hazards but getting them enforced is difficult. It seems a shame that we can't understand that we all have a responsiblity to make our island attractive to tourists (our primary income) and at least some concession to the environment.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 02:14 AM

I couldn't find any specific law and the rest of the Waste Management Act deals more with the running of it than actual enforcement of littering laws. What is noted above is the closest I could get. The laws themselves can be found at
Posted By: weile

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 04:47 AM

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate y'all being interested in this (in my opinion) one of the biggest threats to the beauty and future of our island.

Simon, this is not about laws. It is about mentality. I have yet to see a country (and I have lived in a few) where laws have changed basic mentality.
It is not about saying: If you dump a plastic bottle, it'll cost you ten cents. It is about making people understand that the dumping of toxic waste, plastic and, and, and, will have an impact on the future (+ it looks like shit and hurts our tourism.

Locals and anyone else who own land here or just care about our island should support the effort to make people understand that it is not just illegal to dump paint buckets, plastic etc.
It is stupid!!!
Posted By: casa de amor

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 05:15 AM

I agree with everyone some thing has to change. But i think it starts with the education of the local people for instance this is an example of what happenned last time is was on AC in july. I was riding in a golf car with a local friend of mine who is a young teenager and he threw his trash from the food he was eating right there in the middle of the street, i was shocked at what he did, and i asked him why he would do something like that , it is his island and he should take care of it but he did not understand the wrong in doing what he did. It is truly a sad thing to see
Posted By: weile

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 05:54 AM

Kids throw thrash everywhere. Ever been around a burger bar in the "civilized world"? The local schools actually do a very good job of educating the kids, as do the green reef project, the Hol Chan people and many others.

Main problem where I am at (north A.C.) is the resorts and other projects using the road and the lagoon lots as dumps + in their little minds think that toxic material make good land- and road fill. These places are not run by local kids, but by people from the U.S., Europe or where ever without a clue... Sad but true!
Posted By: casa de amor

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 06:22 AM

wow weile not so harsh, i just was sharing an experience i had with littering on AC. I dont know much about the resorts dumping trash but i do know that littering is a big problem on the island from what i have seen, and it starts with educating the children.
Posted By: weile

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 06:44 AM

Sorry, Casa...
Not trying to be harsh. Sorry if I made that impression. Not intended.

Got your point, but this just happens to be something that I am so tired of watching after a number of years of living here. I absolutely agree that education is important.
My point is that if "we Gringos" come here and build nice million dollar homes and businesses and don't give a shit about anything but profit, there is little hope since most of the beachfront is in the hands of developers, who probably didn't throw thrash in their neighbor's yard back home in the States or Europe.
Posted By: boyce1

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 12:58 PM

I am just what you need, someone who has not yet even been to Belize (1 more month!) offering suggestions!!!

I do think that engaging the kids is an easy place to start. I can still remember the Keep America Beautiful program that “Lady Bird” Johnson endorsed back in the mid 1960s. Damn I am OLD – how has this happened???

Anyway, it was great sport to scold your parents for being a “litter bug”. It was easy to get us interested in our environment – and this was in St. Louis which doesn’t even have a beach!!!

My guess is that businesses have one the greatest economic incentives to controlling litter and I would assume that they are “hit up” to donate to community causes such as equipping sports teams with uniforms, playground equipment, school supplies and such. Maybe they contribute to a fund that doled out some extras based on kid hours spent picking up trash. (Heck even some adults will volunteer for a cool tee shirt!) With a bit of supervision and some supplies a group of soccer teams or something might have an impact and more importantly it could help to raise awareness. Of course this won’t help much with commercial interests dumping illegally.

I have also read here about your Lions Club and their BBQ - perhaps they could be persuaded to offer a “discount” for bringing in a bag of trash or a free beer (ice cream or something for the kids).

An Adopt-A-Road style project could be modified to Adopt-A-Beach.

Does Belize utilize “Community Service” as punishment for minor criminal infractions?

While certainly not specific to Belize and perhaps not even applicable, it is interesting nevertheless that Keep America Beautiful, Inc. did a research project over the course of three years and found that people litter for one of three main reasons.

· Where they feel no sense of ownership or pride for the property
· Where someone else will clean up after them
· Where litter has already accumulated and they feel it is okay to add more

The research project also uncovered the seven main sources of litter.

· Commercial refuse sources, including dumpsters
· Household trash handling
· Construction/demolition sites
· Uncovered vehicles (especially truck beds)
· Loading docks
· Motorists
· Pedestrians

Oh well, just my thoughts and not worth what you paid for them but no, there are no refunds and yes I will pick up some trash for rum!

Damn this change from Daylight Savings Time waking me up at this ungodly hour!
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 04:37 PM

I believe there is a 5 cent return on the plastic bottles at Bowen and Bowen. But not on the bags!

Maybe the bottling company would be a good place to start looking for a "No Littering" campaign.

Of course what Ebbe is talking about is the atrocious "dumping" on the north side. As he already stated, paint cans, rebar, stryofoam etc does not make good land fill - but it saves the contractor a lot of money in haulage. It is disgusting, shameful and dangerous to the environment. And our acceptance of these practices simply teaches our children that it is acceptable behaviour.

Also it is not only the "locals" that are causing these ugly practices but also foreigners.

If your building contractor has just built a house or a condo for you up north - have you seen where your construction trash went? Ask, you might be shocked to find out that you are contributing to this disgrace.
Posted By: weile

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 06:07 PM

Thanks Amanda. You are right as always...
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 06:46 PM

Well obviously education of people is important, however, you do have to make things easy for people. How about a rule that each beach front property is required to have at least one trash can. Yes it may be a pain for the property owners, however they have a responsibility as well. I can remember numerous times walking down the beach and carry trash for a mile becaus there are no trash cans. Thoughts, or am I off base?
Posted By: Nick Barton

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 06:47 PM

I fully support the theme of this exchange of emails but I fear, to give my two cents worth on the subject, that there is no easy solution. For instance we have had building and other rubbish dropped on our land at the lagoon side of our property next to the road.

Should we be fined if it is not cleared up?

The fact is that we don't like it and we have asked our caretaker to try and keep it cleared up but I am rather worried as he does that it will encourage the perpetrators to do it again! Frustrating!

We are gradually trying to make this area of our land look smart with tree plantings, path edging etc., in the hope that these people will be embarrassed into ceasing their activity but I suspect I am being nieve in that expectation but it is worth a try.

In the end I suspect that the problem will just move up the island as construction moves north so once our area is 'fully' developed then the problem will go away from where we are - that, of course, is no consolation to others affected and clearly not a satisfactory solution overall.
Posted By: casa de amor

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 07:06 PM

These building materials are also a hazard for people and property especially when there are hurricane force winds out and could blow these materials causing harm to others. This is an issue you could bring up with the city council
Posted By: WhiteWater

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/01/05 07:29 PM

Are there success stories? Is there a development that has done a great job with waste management? Maybe their process and costs could be held up as an example of how to 'do the right thing the right way'.
Posted By: Chris

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/02/05 03:42 AM

Weile's first statement was "This is about the roads on our island"....allow me to say that our "roads" are a disgusting embarrasment and an affront to the tens of millions of dollars that this island's tourists and taxpayers send to Central Government every year.

Sorry to climb on my soapbox, but pollution control, proper trash disposal, installation of proper infrastructure, enforcement of laws etc. etc. really should begin with those at the top of the government totem pole. Unfortunately they're too busy making themselves and their nasty, greedy cronies rich to actually care about what is happenin' on lil' old Ambergris.

Rainy days on Ambergris Caye....think how perfect they would be if you didn't have to drive, bike or walk through that muck they call our "roads."
Posted By: weile

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/03/05 07:19 AM

Don't mind you climbing on your soapbox at all Chris. You're basically right, but it will have to start with the "educated" people who can afford to clean up their own mess. Seriously, next time I see a "contractor" having his people throw a paint bucket in the lagoon, I'm going to throw it back in his stupid face and ask him if he thinks it's cool to kill the fish, give his grand children cancer and generally contribute to f***ing up this beautiful place just to save a couple of bucks.
The potholes in the roads are bad, but it's only water, and the quality of the roads is really not that important, if all they are running through are toxic waste dumps. Some of you people up here (north A.C.) should really be ashamed of yourselves...
Posted By: Laguna Punta

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/05/05 09:46 AM

We should make a comparison of whom makes bigger boo boos. The rich or the poor. Come on back to
San Pedrito someday and see for yourself. If I am not mistaken...the town dump charges for dumping, which is not much of an incentive for its use...over and beyond the long drive there and back. I think the Town Board should PAY people who use the town dump. PS. the little kids seldom put their candy wrappers in their pockets...they throw them on the ground...after looking about.
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/05/05 01:57 PM

This is the attitude with garbage all over Belize, not up to our standards but it is their country. Everyone has a burn pile in the back yard and what the dogs do not eats gets burned and then blown all over. Drive roads all over Belize and watch the stuff thrown from the back of the trucks. We can try to lead by example but that is as far as it goes. The dump in Belize city used to let the poor come and pick through the garbage for free, now they chage them 10 BZE per day!!!
Posted By: Bearfoot Gibby

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/06/05 03:22 PM

Wow! Charging the poor to pick through the garbage dump. I guess that means only the rich homeless people can get a reservation to the exclusive PUP Diner.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/07/05 02:35 PM

For those that are interested, garbage pick-up (daily household refuse) is FREE to private residences. The town board does try to collect a few dollars from hotels, businesses and aparment houses etc. to help defray the cost.

Currently there is no charge to pick through the garbage at the San Pedro Town dump.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/07/05 02:56 PM

Trash pickup is free and daily but there are still jerks that toss their trash into the bush by the side of the road.
Posted By: weile

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/14/05 08:42 PM

Sorry to go on again, but this subject is really one of the most important ones in regards to the future of A.C.

I have seen beautiful places ruined, and would hate to see it happen to our island. Yes, I'm very much in danger of repeating myself (over and over), but here I go again:
It is not about a kid throwing his ice cream paper on the side of the road. It is about all us adult, educated, somewhat wealthy people who need to show that we have the resources to be good examples.

One of the main problems at a few places here up north on the island is people who moved here years ago, now developing million dollar projects, and who are still too imbecile to realize the sense in hiring somebody to pick up their trash and used construction materials. You know who you are, and I am not going to mention your names (yet).
Here is a little piece of advice for you: Carlos Bradley (Cell: 600 - 5737) is bringing the trash that does not burn in my incinerator to the town dump down south for $BZ 125.- per (huge) load.

F.Y.I.: the road along my property (500 feet+) was made beautiful at a total cost of $BZ 6,000 including backhoe rental and all. Don't y'all think that it's worthwhile to spend a small percentage of what we paid for our land to keep the access clean and nice for our residents, tourists and future investors?.

The town board can't afford it, so let's kick in with a few dollars more and keep the roads in shape, but most of all clean!!!

I am really looking forward to the day where I can go north from town without seing half-empty paint-thinner buckets, styrofoam, plastic and, and, and... spread all over the road and at the lagoon shores. Hell, with a little luck, I might even be able to pass the road between Belizean Shores and Journey's End some day without punctured tires and feeling sorry for the ignorant people who made the new dump-site there.

Re: Keep it clean! - 11/15/05 10:35 PM

Does anyone know what it costs to dispose of debris in the town dump ? I may just pick up some on my way to town when i am there and drop it off in the dump. (A little at a time can make a difference.) smile
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