Friday, July 12, 2024

Illegal garbage dumping in northern Ambergris Caye reported

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Concerned residents have reported what they describe as an eyesore and environmentally harmful piles of rubbish, including electrical appliances, dumped with the apparent purpose of filling a piece of land north of San Pedro. According to regulations, organic landfill may be used, but electrical items and appliances are considered hazardous to the environment and should be disposed of properly.

The illegal dumping occurs right after the cemented portion of the northern Ambergris Caye road ends. Among the items visible from the roadside include refrigerators, stoves, heaters, and even a TV. The dump is hard to miss as it is adjacent to the road and captures the attention of those who pass by.

The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is aware of this, and Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez said that the property owner had been warned. According to him, if they do not comply, the SPTC and the Department of Environment will issue a hefty fine. Despite what the Mayor said, the huge rubbish dump continues to grow, giving the area an unpleasant view and toxic environment. The property owner could not be contacted, but it allegedly belongs to a local business person.

The improper disposal of garbage as landfill is harmful to the environment and causes public health issues. The Environmental Protection Act chapter 328 Subsection 13-(1) states that ‘no Person shall dump or dispose or deposit any garbage, refuse, toxic substances or hazardous wastes in any place that may directly or indirectly damage or destroy flora, fauna, or pollute water sources and the environment.’ The Act continues by stating that any person who contravenes with this law automatically commits an offense and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $25,000 or imprisonment for a term not less than six months and not exceed five years. The law also suggests both fines and imprisonment.

The public is advised that only organic material may be used as landfill. The SPTC’s sanitation department will not pick up electronic items and appliances, and residents must arrange to get such refuse to the transfer station south of San Pedro Town.

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