NSWMA to use dialogue rather than force in fight against illegal dump
Chief technical officer at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) Audley Gordon has shed light on the steps to be taken to put a stop to the illegal dumping activity in the Bedward Gardens community of August Town, St Andrew.
The existence of the illegal dump, which is adjacent to the Hope River bed, was first brought to light in last Sunday's Gleaner.
This resulted in a number of NSWMA representatives and police personnel visiting the community on Wednesday.
The NSWMA has scheduled a high-level meeting with the police and other stakeholders for next week Tuesday as a permanent solution is sought.
"We will be meeting with the St Andrew central superintendent, and I think NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) will be at that meeting, too, and our lawyers will be in that meeting as well," Gordon revealed.
Gordon said that based on the volatile nature of the community, it would be impractical to put someone on the ground to monitor the area, so the approach would instead have to be sensitisation of the residents.
"We don't have the capacity to put somebody on the property to watch it, and there is also the nature of the community. We can't endanger the lives of our enforcement officers, so that is why we have to work with the police," Gordon told The Gleaner.
"We are sending our community relations people into the community to talk to the residents and to show them why we are on their side and the dangers that this activity poses to them."
It was revealed on Wednesday by Inspector in charge of the August Town Police Station Stephen Taylor that some residents had claimed that the land belonged to the University of the West Indies and permission has been granted for them to use it.
The university has denied any connections to the land or the illegal activities taking place on it. This has, however, not tempered the NSWMA's desire to speak with representatives of the UWI.
"A meeting is also being arranged with the university," Gordon said.
Young men in the area were said to be charging truck drivers between $500 and $1,000 to dump rubble, plastic, and other forms of waste on the large plot of land, which was once used in part as a football field. The truck men were only too willing to pay the fee and avoid having to travel to the established facility in Riverton instead.
Gordon said his team would be working assiduously with the police throughout the month of September to rid to put a stop to the illegal act.
"Securing the site is a combination of things, some of which we can't discuss, and some of it will be covert in terms of the police and our enforcement team working together," Gordon said.
"We will resolve this matter, but it is not an easy thing as it requires some investigative work and it requires some collaboration with some other state agencies.
"Ideally what we want is to nab somebody and then to get to the source."