Civic pride needed to address illegal waste disposal
It is imperative that as a people of value and inhabitants of an island state that we elevate civic pride above all else, charged Audley Gordon, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
He lamented that Jamaicans have lost their civic pride, causing them to dump waste anywhere. But he warned that legislative change was coming that would hit them hard in the pocket, as fines would be increased for the breach of illegal and unauthorised dumping.
Gordon spoke to The Gleaner yesterday while leading his team of workers in clearing sections of Fletcher's Land in central Kingston of garbage in observance of World Environment Day under the theme 'Better Solid Waste Management, Healthier Jamaica'.
"As Jamaicans, we need to reclaim that civic pride, so we don't say that Government ought to do it or that the NSWMA is to come and clean it up after we have messed things up. We must see ourselves as part of the Clean Jamaica crusade, and if everyone does that in their own little space, we will actually end up with a cleaner, healthier, more appealing environment," Gordon said.
John's Lane, King Street, and Stable Lane in downtown Kingston were targeted for the clean-up operations, with tons of solid waste material removed from the community.
A livid Gordon expressed disgust at how residents and others have been using open spaces as dump sites across the country.
"One such is Stable Lane. It has walls on either side; two schools are also located there. Yet people who are hell bent on duttying up Jamaica keep coming down here with their motor vehicles and their carts and dumping things in the lane. That can't work!" he stated.
"It's untenable, and, like the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the NSWMA cannot put an enforcement officer at every lane, we cannot have an enforcement officer at every gate, so people have to come to the party themselves. They have to get involved in the Clean up Jamaica campaign. Nothing else is viable," Gordon stated.