Statia Investigative Officers increase supervision waste regulations to prevent illegal dumping

During the past several weeks Investigative Officers on St. Eustatius have stepped up the supervision of the waste regulations in an effort to prevent illegal dumping. There has been an increase in illegal dumping of waste on Statia. While the facilities for getting rid of waste are becoming increasingly accessible. The Waste Plant is open daily.

“Eighty percent of the waste brought to the facility is processed for free. Fridges, stoves, microwaves, furniture, old air-conditioning units and many other items are free of charge. The fees vary from 1$ for a used tire to 5$ per 100kg for mixed waste. These are items that we still find at illegal dumpsites", says Jeffrey Lewis, Director of EJL Services B.V. and Manager of the Waste Plant in Zeelandia.

Until last month, EJL Services was only responsible for waste collection, cleaning up the old dump site and managing the waste plant. Now they are supervising rules on illegal dumping of waste as well. Two employees of EJL Services have been appointed as Extraordinary Investigative Officers. If it is established by whom the waste has been dumped, the inspector of EJL services can draw up a report. The official report is then approved by the Public Prosecutor. The inspectors often find the waste themselves, sometimes it is reported by residents. The willingness to report on Statia is low. People do not like to be known as snitches. Giving information pertaining to illegal dumping is confidential. The information in the report is only reviewed by officers and the Prosecutor. The perpetrator in question does not get insight in the report.

One of the root causes to the problem is the unfamiliarity with the rules and regulations. Most types of waste can be brought in for processing at the Waste Plant for free. Especially when different types of waste are delivered separately, most of it can be processed free of charge, such as plastic, wood and electronics.

Other root causes of illegal waste dumping, is informal handling of waste on behalf of others. People pay unregistered businesses to take care of household or construction waste. Making use of unregistered waste transporters is in violation of the law and contributes to the growth of illegal waste dumping.  The Waste Plant is open on weekdays from 07h00 AM to 04h00 PM, on Saturdays from 09h00AM to 12h00PM and on Sundays from 12h00PM to 15h00PM. If waste is collected before or after these times, it is more likely that the person who processes your waste may dump it somewhere illegally. Transporting waste from others is punishable if not in possession of a waste license, unless the owner is traveling along.

The investigators represent the articles of the islands waste ordinance. Violations on the public road, properties or which can be seen from the public road fall within their authority to address. The Public Health Department has the mandate to visit a premises, to address disregarded waste. Places where there is a lot of dumping, are often in remote areas. Zeelandia, Behind the Mountain and Road to Whitewall are notorious dump sites. These are locations that are patrolled often by EJL Services. Precisely these areas are where tourists visit, while Statia would like to attract more ecotourism.

That is why the EJL Services team works not only to punish violations, but also to create awareness. The ongoing campaign “Each one, Teach one” with 3 of the 4 schools on the island challenges children and young people to make something new out of waste. For example, bird feeders from recycled plastic. There will be a campaign soon to increase awareness of the rules.