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Jan 30, 2007

City residents complain about mounting trash

Story PictureThe collection of garbage–or more precisely, the lack of it–is a growing issue in Belize City politics. Today some residents on the edge of downtown asked us to take a look at their predicament and News Five’s Kendra Griffith, with some company, responded.

Wayne Usher, Deputy Mayor, Belize City Council
“We have only one designated dump site that the city should be using and that is up at mile three and a half, four on the Western Highway.”

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
That may be the case, but for quite a while, residents of Church and West streets say they have been living with a mini dump site right in their neighbourhood.

Nellie Arnold, Area Resident
“It’s for years now ma’am we are living in this mess. From they sell out that place and then they turn it into a garbage heap and it’s worse now.”

It’s gotten worse they say, because for at least a month, there have been no efforts on the part of the City Council or Belize Waste Control to clean up the mess.

Nellie Arnold
“Ah tired ah calling. I called the …”

Kendra Griffith
“City Council?”

Nellie Arnold
“Yeah, and ask them fi do something, but it look like the poor fellas them poverty stricken, they can’t send out nothing fi help we the old poverty one back yah.”

Eighty-four year old Nellie Arnold, who lives right across the street from the lot, says that besides being an eye sore, the trash has been clogging their drains.

Nellie Arnold
“Don’t you see the whole lotta dirt over there? Well that blow in here and into the drain. Look at the drains, it stop right up then it come over. See how inna this water, it only lef fi get inna the house. The water raise according to the rain, last night it rain all night. That’s when the drain over flow.”

Kendra Griffith
“But how does the garbage get here?”

Nellie Arnold
“We noh throw dirt there, because dah we wah feel.”

Wayne Usher
“I will endeavour to say this on your TV programme that, personally, I will go out there this afternoon, I will look at it, I will see what needs to be done and I will, personally, see that this particular spot is cleaned up. How I do it is really not for the cameras, but I will get it done. By at least tomorrow I will have that place cleaned up myself.”

True to his word, this afternoon Deputy Mayor and Councillor responsible for Sanitation, Wayne Usher, and crew was in the area cleaning out the trash. According to Usher, illegal dumping is a constant problem that the City Council is trying hard to tackle.

Wayne Usher
“What we do is we try to clean it ourselves in the first instance, make sure it’s clean, put up our sign and try to catch people dumping and give them littering tickets, we try to eliminate these hotspots that should not really be there.”

But Usher also sounded a note of warning to those who routinely engage in the illegal practice.

Wayne Usher
“I will catch you. I will send my people out there. We will wait and we will catch you and we will fine you five hundred dollars if we catch you, when we catch you and two thousand dollars for those who have big companies who wilfully keep this city looking like a big garbage dump. I personally will make sure I catch you, fine you, or send you to prison.”

Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

In addition to the ticketing, Usher says the City Council is hoping to embark on an anti-littering campaign and is working on increasing the number of runs made by Belize Waste Control. If you are having problems with garbage collection in your area, please contact the CITCO’s complaint line at 227-0055.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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