The issues of solid waste management and littering are more than politics and economics, they are about how citizens behave, practise their lifestyles, manage consumption patterns and shape their environment.
And, Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, is of the view that there is a need for an intimate relationship between Government???s intentions and actions, and the behaviour and response of citizens.
???That is a battle that we have to keep fighting and one that we must win,??? he said, during a recent tour with officials from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Minister lamented the fact that people continued to indiscriminately place their garbage out on the street, on the ground or tied to fences, practices which are illegal in Barbados.
He expressed the opinion that officials in the Ministry were not as forceful as they should be in enforcing the law to ensure that persons followed the correct methods for the disposal of their waste.??The Minister admitted, however, that one of the greatest challenges so far with the collection of waste was the availability of vehicles.
???In all fairness to the public we have fallen down in that area. We keep a maximum of 50 to 52 per cent of our rolling stock in service on a given month. That has to change. Too many of our vehicles are down in the yard or the workshop, and we now have to look at how we are going to get them back in service as quickly as possible,??? he said.
Noting that there was a need to balance the availability of collection vehicles with the responsibility of citizens, Dr. Lowe said efforts were underway to replace the old fleet at the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA).
???We have a programme in place to address that, [and] we are looking at outsourcing some of the work to keep our vehicles on the road, and we have asked that the Engineering Department manage the fleet and the mechanical area at the SSA,??? he explained.
In addition, he said, Government was investing in the construction of a $22 million new mechanical workshop to service the vehicles of the SSA and possibly other vehicles within the Ministry.
???I too have seen some sights that we have to address and address immediately even if it means sending in additional vehicles when you see those build-ups begin to happen to ensure that they are not eye sores to the public as it has been in recent months,??? Dr. Lowe stated.
He added that sustaining an environment had to be a continuous process, and stressed that successive governments have to adopt the attitude that it was really not only about government, but also about the country, and what kind of environment would be passed on to the next generation.