Littering fines must hit deep in the pocket

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  • The breakdown: a soda can slowly rots in a Bermuda public park in this file photograph. The US Park Service has estimated that it will take 450 years for it to decompose

    The breakdown: a soda can slowly rots in a Bermuda public park in this file photograph. The US Park Service has estimated that it will take 450 years for it to decompose


The following was e-mailed to Minister of Public Works Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch and copied to The Royal Gazette

Dear Sir,

I would like to thank the hard-working crews of the Department of Works & Engineering for their recent clean-up out here in Spanish Point, Pembroke.

Their efforts have reclaimed parts of the roadways, which were taken over by weeds, and have given us back — in some places — up to two feet of lane width.

It all looks so clean and tidy now, and the W&E crews deserve our appreciation.

This recent work, however, has revealed a growing problem we have on our island, which is the casual attitude to littering.

The amount of beer bottles, plastic cups and paper trash that have been uncovered on kerbsides and are now visible for all to see, for both residents and visitors alike, is indicative of a mindset in which there is nothing wrong with discarding something whenever and wherever one feels like it.

The recent incident at the Mangrove Bay raft-up during the Cup Match holiday is a case in point.

A young man had no second thoughts about dumping large, plastic bags of trash overboard, even in view of many others around him.

However, the ever-present smartphones with their cameras were “on the prowl” and he was eventually identified and fined $200.

He will be also taking part in future Keep Bermuda Beautiful clean-up efforts. It is to be hoped that, with the embarrassment brought by all the social and mainstream media, this young man has learnt a valuable lesson. In my opinion, the $200 fine did not send a powerful enough message.

Bermuda has been proud of her reputation for its unspoilt beauty and cleanliness for many decades, and we should never take this for granted.

Our pristine waters, spectacular beaches and healthy marine life deserve way more recognition than a mere slap on the wrist of a $200 penalty.

We should all be made to understand and accept the negative effects of littering our waters and our lands. Existing legislation needs to pack a more powerful punch for anyone guilty of such. Start with a $1,000 minimum fine and work upwards from there.

In addition, each and every one of us can be advocates for KBB in that, when we see people littering — whether they be your friends, family or strangers — we call them out and send the message that littering is not acceptable in any form.

The trash problem around the island is a reflection on each and every one of us, and we must reverse this trend now. I am hopeful that our legislators will do their part by updating our littering laws to show that this behaviour will not be tolerated and will result in severe penalties.

Let’s keep Bermuda beautiful, unspoilt and uncommon.

BEVERLEY CONNELL

Pembroke

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Published Aug 13, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 13, 2018 at 12:03 am)

Littering fines must hit deep in the pocket

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