More than 150 truckloads of garbage had to be removed from the north-eastern beaches and rivers yesterday left behind by over 6,000 campers and beach lovers over the long Easter weekend.
Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon described the rubbish pile-up as the worst he had seen in years.
He called on Government to take decisive action against campers, visitors and beach lovers who continue year-after-year to leave piles of garbage behind after days of enjoyment and fun.
“The campers dirty up the beaches from Matelot to Matura. I am really disappointed. This time it was the worst. The beaches are in a mess. I am saddened today because I invited citizens to come to the north-eastern region for the Easter weekend to enjoy themselves because the area is safe,” Rondon said.
But instead of keeping a clean scene, Rondon said mounds of garbage was strewn everywhere, which left him furious.
“I am angry because as a people we are not trying to do our part in cleaning our environment... bearing in mind that all these things contribute to widespread flooding. We saw what happened last October after a few hours of heavy showers. The water invaded many homes and people were left stranded for days. It seems we are not learning anything.”
In a four-hour span on Tuesday, Rondon said a crew of 45 contractors including a clean-up teams from the corporation had to dismantle scores of make-shifts toilets, bathrooms, kitchens and living quarters at Salybia-Wharton Estate alone which amounted to 30 truckloads of waste.
Rondon said if the corporation was the owner of this sprawling beachfront they could have regulated and charged campers to use the facility.
This beach accommodated up to 3,000 campers, Rondon said.
The discarded material comprised rusty galvanise sheeting, pieces of plywood, lengths of lumber, discarded tarpaulins, dried coconut branches, strips of foams, non-working fridges, old pots, buckets, styrofoam containers, rotten foodstuff and plastic and glass bottles.
Campers also left mounds of garbage at Shark, Marianne, Yara and Valencia rivers and at several rented community centres.
“They have the beaches and rivers like a shanty town. It’s a free for all as there is no regulation and enforcement. They doing what they want with no consequences. They can’t go Maracas Bay and do that. But they coming here. What these campers and beach lovers bringing, they not carrying back. They are not even walking with garbage bags any more. So the beaches and rivers have become a dumping ground.”
Rondon said he expected another 120 truckloads to be cleared from Salybia to Matelot.
He said the corporation’s hands have been tied, as they have no litter wardens to enforce the law.
A person found guilty of littering is liable to be fined $4,000 or six months imprisonment.
“I have already received calls from residents in Matelot saying that their community is covered in litter...in mess.”
He said if crews had not begun to clean the beaches and rivers from last Wednesday, the situation would have been a total disaster.
It would cost the corporation $58,000 in overtime to have these areas cleaned. Those funds, Rondon said, could have been put to better use.