DOE on the move - litter tickets coming!

The Department of the Environment (DOE) has informed town boards countrywide of their intention to meet personally with the mayors and councilors regarding environmental issues, especially solid and liquid waste management.

According to the DOE letter, "Most importantly, we would like to discuss and distribute Littering Offences (Violation Tickets) to your Town Board so that the enforcement of the Littering Offence Regulation could be carried out effectively."

Mr. Jose Mendoza of the DOE said that they will furnish the town boards with a sufficient number of tickets to implement the program. 500 booklets with 50 tickets in each have been printed. He cited the 1996 amendments to the Littering Offence Regulations and Pollution Regulations in which the fine for littering was increased from $50.00 to $100.00 for individuals caught littering the highways, streets, rivers, etc. It also increased the fine of companies, industries etc., from $100.00 to $500.00. The Pollution Regulations seek to control all types of pollution in Belize including air pollution, water pollution, illicit burning, private dumps, vehicle emissions, noise pollution, washing of motor vehicles in rivers and streams, among others. Any person who contravenes these regulations may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000.00 and/or to imprisonment.

According to the Littering Offences Regulation (1996), Police Officers, Transport Officers, Public Health Officers, Justices of the Peace and any other person(s) authorized by the town board would be issuing tickets to the offenders of the law.

The DOE is seeking cooperation of all individuals, companies, etc. to observe these and other laws and take the initiative and stop polluting our fragile and endangered environment. It is our responsibility to keep Belize clean and healthy for the present and future generations.

The continued expansion of tourism in Belize will depend heavily on the country maintaining a clean and healthy environment. If we fail to keep Belize, our home, clean, then this could seriously affect the Belizean economy. Bear in mind that the pollution of our highways and rivers and sea not only creates a sore sight to other concerned Belizeans and visiting tourists alike, but could create a wrong impression in regards to our attitude towards cleanliness and environmental health.

According to the statutory instrument, a number of people are authorized to give litter tickets - police, transport officers, health officers, justices of the peace, town board and city council clerks, bus conductors and "any other person whom the Minister may in his discretion appoint for issuing violation tickets."

San Pedro Sun

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