Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Solar lights installed along San Pedrito Highway, illegal dumping still a problem


The San Pedrito Highway has been the site of major illegal dumping over the years, with the problem still not thoroughly addressed. The lack of lighting is another issue reported by residents. This problem has now been addressed with the installation of solar lights through a collaborative effort between My Lights and the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC).
The San Pedrito Highway is a stretch of road connecting the subdivision of San Pedrito with San Pablo, San Marcos, and DFC. It is an alternative route used daily by island residents to avoid the congestion on Coconut and Seagrape Drives to and from town. The installation of solar lights will increase visibility while driving at night, adding to the safety of anyone transiting this road. The road runs parallel to the airstrip of the John Greif III Municipal Airport. On one of its sides, there are mangroves and the lagoon. According to motorists, a section of the road could use some fences to prevent someone from accidentally ending in the lagoon. Wildlife, such as crocodiles, reside in the area, and there is a need for proper lighting.
Illegal dumping remains a problem
Illegal dumping has been taking place for years along this stretch of road. In the past, authorities have identified the persons engaged in the improper disposal of waste and ordered them to clean the area. But despite such measures, residents living near the area say the problem continues because there is little enforcement. They believe that if the SPTC issued hefty fines, it could deter others from engaging in this unhealthy and embarrassing practice.

San Pedrito Highway

The last massive community clean-up in this area was in November 2018. The San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (SP BTIA), the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (now ACES Wildlife Rescue), and the SPTC held a four-day clean-up campaign. Illegal and improper garbage disposal was highlighted as hundreds of islanders participated in the cleaning. The roadside was littered with large items such as appliances and old furniture, polluting the water system, marring the natural beauty, and threatening the health of the fragile environment surrounding the island.
Littering is penalized per the summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Chapter 98 Revised Edition 2003. The law states that littering is an offence, and anyone who commits a littering offence may be issued a violation ticket by an authorized officer. If an authorized officer sees a person committing a littering crime, they can be ticketed at the time of the offence or within 48 hours. Any person who refuses to receive the violation ticket from an authorized officer, or refuses to give his name and address, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to the same penalties as if he had committed a littering crime.
Island residents are asked to be vigilant, and if they see anyone dumping garbage, to take photographs or report them to the relevant authorities like the SPTC and even the police. The improper disposal of waste will make San Pedro more beautiful and inviting and benefit the sensitive natural environment around the island, supporting the tourism industry and thousands of livelihoods.

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