- In Part 3 of this Bermuda Real series, we follow up on the ongoing illegal dumping report on Ferry Lane, near Watford Bridge in Dockyard – a growing problem throughout the island daily, including Flatts Village, near the Aquarium…
At first glance, it looks like a public bus stop – in these times – it’s more like a bus stop and a public trash dumping dump.
These photographs could be a bus stop anywhere in Bermuda. In this case, it is the west bound stop next to the Warren Simmons field on Main Road in Somerset.
But on any given day, 365 days a year, you will see household trash dumped at various inappropriate places, including bus stops around the entire island – including Flatts Village.
The illegal dumping at the parking lot across from the Aquarium has been a major pet peeve of former MP John Barritt, who posts pictures of the ongoing problem on a regular basis – on his Facebook page.
He said the problem increases during the summer season as a result of “boaters and people who picnic evenings in picturesque Flatts”.
We asked for his reaction to Part 2 of this series on the illegal dumping eyesore that goes unchecked at the east bound bus stop at Watford Bridge in Dockyard.
He stated from the outset that people dump their household trash anywhere because they know “they can get away with it”.
“I could not believe the extent of the problem you have highlighted,” said Mr Barritt.
“There again, I can. It seems to prove what those responsible for the collection of trash have to say. If you provide dumpsters, they will come and come and come and drop off of their trash and more than that, anything else they don’t want cluttering up their house or backyard. It doesn’t get better, it gets worse!
“I think people do this because, principally, they can get away with it. They also comfort themselves into believing that it is perfectly alright because the trash will get collected – and it does.
“But in the meantime the spot looks like a dump and attracts vermin. It is also no longer their problem but someone else’s. But I am not telling you anything people don’t already know,” he added.
“What to do about it? I wish I knew THE answer. A 24-hour security guard might be one answer. But how expensive is that and who will pay for it?
“Cameras? Maybe, providing they are going to be monitored and the people captured on video, are prosecuted.
“Incidentally, I would not just fine them on conviction but impose community service, picking up trash,” he said.
“Down here in Flatts, particularly in the Aquarium parking lot, people still regard the bus shelter and trash bins there as an invitation to deposit trash bags and discarded pizza boxes, again thinking, I think, that that is the perfectly acceptable thing to do because at some point someone does collect the trash from there.
“I am also pleased to report that a large trash bag, tied to a sign where people used to just deposit their trash, is being used. But that really does also serve as invitation to leave your trash and not bother to take it home.
“I fully expect the problem will get worse when it gets warmer and more people come to picnic at what is a scenic spot, and boaters drop off what they don’t want in their boats and don’t wish to take home in their car. That bag will overflow if not collected daily.
“I often wonder how they would react if we knew who they were and dropped off their trash at their doors or in their front yards?
“Meanwhile, we can continue to work on changing habits by education and advertorial films that graphically depict how bad the problem is? Even better use some of the film from cameras to start to expose and shame.”
Mr Barritt noted however, that he has “nothing but respect for those in Public Works who are responsible for waste management and trash collection”.
“I know from my own experience here in Flatts how diligent and conscientious they are. But they cannot win for losing, or so it seems.
“They collect trash from bus shelters and other known spots on a regular basis and sadly it only seems to serve to encourage people to continue to discard their garbage rather than keep it for collection from their properties on assigned days.
“The more they collect, the more it attracts more garbage,” he said.
“Unfortunately this is why dumpsters and large trash bins are frowned upon. Too many regard it as an invitation to drop off their trash.
“Your recent story has underscored the point,” he added.
“Aside from cameras to film and shame, maybe there ought to be a hotline to which people can report names (if they know them) or license plates where litterers have used cars to drop off their trash. Those caught should, as I said earlier, get community service orders of having to work with KBB to pick up litter or with Waste Management.”
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.
But that maximum penalty has never been meted out through the courts and people know that illegal dumping goes unchecked 365 days a year.
Ultimately nothing happens to stop it and so it continues.
One area resident said Watford Bridge is “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”.
On top of that she said: “This trash dumping site encourages rats and rodents. Cameras would definitely help,” she added.
The Ministry of Public Works holds responsibility for solid waste management and refuse collections. Repeated requests for answers to questions raised in this series to the Ministry representative and the Minister of Public Works continue to go unanswered.
- To be continued…