On any given day of the week, whether it’s trash collection day or not, it sits there in open view like the eyesore that it is.

Residents on Ferry Lane, near Watford Bridge in Dockyard say it is not unusual for residents from other neighbourhoods to openly dump their household trash where it does not belong.

And they’re not just dumping trash, they dump old furniture and appliances – not to mention electronic equipment – that piles up on the sidewalk, right next to the east bound bus stop on a regular basis – in full view daily.

The only deterrent is a sign posted next to the dumpsters put there for area residents to eliminate the need for garbage trucks to navigate the narrow roads leading up the hill.

The sign clearly states that dumping “household and bulky waste at this location is illegal” and that the “bins are for use by residents of Ferry Lane and Bridge View Lane only”.

It also says that “it is an offence to dump trash here” unless you live in the area, under the Waste and Litter Control Act, 2011″ which carries a fine of up to $10,000 illegal dumping.

That all sounds fine and good but when was the last time you’ve heard of anyone appearing in court for illegal dumping. Better yet, when has anyone ever been fined the maximum penalty.

The one word answer is NEVER! And people know that it goes unchecked 365 days a year and nothing happens to stop it.

What we do know is filming illegal trash dumpers is definitely a deterrent, which begs the question: “Why don’t they install surveillance cameras at this location?

One resident, who has lived on Ferry Lane for about five years before the America’s Cup, said the dumpsters were put there just before the world class sailing event because “it looked awful”.

“But the condo developers further up the hill built the covered area for trash because the garbage trucks couldn’t go up there.

“So over the years people dump their stuff,” she said.

“Someone from Waste Management queried how they could put doors on it. Then organisers of the America’s Cup put three dumpsters there and another one by the ferry stop at Watford Bridge, but people couldn’t see it, so always the one at the bus stop.”

The bottom line, she said: “It’s an opportunist place to drive up dump your garbage – go in one way and out the other. And it got worse after the Government switched to the once a week garbage collection schedule.”

And then there’s the public health factor, she added: “This trash dumping site encourages rats and rodents.

“I don’t know if putting a door on it will help, but I think it would stop the illegal dumping to some degree.

“Cameras would definitely help,” she added.

Overall, she said: “The area residents are so pissed off and annoyed by this eyesore. It has gone on for years and years. After a while you lose the energy to be mad about it anymore.

“Placing dumpsters at both ends of the island would help. But people just don’t care as long as it’s out of their yard and they don’t want to go all the way to Tyne’s Bay.”

One waste management worker said illegal dumping across the island has been a problem for decades, particularly along the Railway Trail.

He citied other problem areas, including Wellington Back Road in St George’s, Coney Island, Aeola Drive near Tynes Bay up on the trail and Vesey Street in Devonshire and Flatt’s Village – just to name a few.

The Ministry of Public Works holds responsibility for all government assets, which include public lands, beaches, public parks, government buildings, water distribution, sewerage disposal, solid waste management and refuse collections.

Under the Waste and Litter Control Act 1987 and its amendments are subject to prosecution with a first summary conviction carrying up to a $5,000 fine, and up to a $10,000 fine for subsequent convictions.

The Ministry also employs a Waste Education and Enforcement Officer, “who works with neighbourhoods to educate and help”, by urging residents “to dispose of their waste responsibly and be considerate for those who work to keep Bermuda clean”.

The Minister has said: “It is the source of significant disappointment to and irritation for me – as such there are several options available for enforcement that are being explored. I am determined to take the necessary and possibly controversial steps to curb this behaviour.”

He also stressed that the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility “is a 24 hour – 7 day a week operation and an almost entirely Bermudian run operation”.

Meanwhile, Vanese Gordon, the Waste Education and Enforcement Officer said: “There has been a great deal of discussing around how to deal with these dumping areas.”

She noted that the Ministry of Public Works “has started to replace small bulk refuse containers  (BRC) with larger side loading dumpsters at several dedicated garbage receptacle locations around the island”.

But she said: “This is not to encourage further dumping, but to reduce the cost of collecting waste from these areas.
“With smaller bins, dumped areas required waste removal several times a week. With the larger dumpsters, the cost to empty these receptacles will be reduced due to less demand for emptying these dumpsters if they were utilized as intended.
“However, it should be noted that the cost of cleaning-up at these receptacle sites due to non-compliant dumping of unacceptable waste materials diminishes the Ministry’s ability to designate resources to other critically important programmes such as improvements in collections vehicles, equipment and upgraded systems.
“Further, at this critical time in our history, Government resources are needed to help stem the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that has arrived on our shores,” she added.
“Increased bin capacity at bus stops and public docks etc, does not entitle the public to dump in these areas as they wish and they should be aware that added enforcement efforts will be in place along with electronic monitoring of these sites.”
But where are they? To date, no one has been found to be in breach of the law and prosecuted for illegal dumping, which carries a maximum penalty of $10,000.
On that note, Ms Gordon said: “Those who don’t fully understand what constitutes illegal dumping, need to ask themselves these questions before taking trash out:
  1. Is this my designated waste collection day?
  2. Is this my designated neighbourhood waste collection site?
  3. Is this a designated waste disposal site such as the Tynes Bay Public Drop Off?

“If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you are committing an offence against the Waste and Litter Control Act,” said Ms Gordon.

“You are adding to the tax burden of waste collection and you are providing a food source for vermin and a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease vectors.”

As it stands now, like it has for some time now, the illegal dumping at Ferry Lane in Dockyard continues to go unchecked without any real enforcement.
Essentially, the illegal dumpers know that they can get away with it. After all, as stated at the top of this article – when was the last time you have seen anyone brought before the courts for this offence? And what good is a maximum penalty as a deterrent when it is not enforced?
  • To be continued…