Illegal Dumping in Abaco
What is illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping refers to the placement of waste or any restricted items in non-designated areas.
So, which areas are designated?
Take a look at the map to see locations of dump sites approved by the Bahamas Government for Abaco. If you are uncertain, contact your local government council to find out where the nearest government approved dumpsites are.
What items are restricted?
According to the Environmental Health Regulations, “special waste” such as used oil, lead acid batteries, medical waste, sewage sludge and tires should not be disposed of without a certificate of approval from the Department of Environmental Health.
Check with the managers of your subdivision or housing development to see if there are any restrictions on what can be placed in your local dumpsters.
Why is illegal dumping bad?
- Garbage takes up space that could be used by native plants and animals
- Garbage attracts disease vectors such as rats, flies and mosquitos. Any garbage that holds standing water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos which carry harmful diseases like dengue.
- Items such as appliances, old computers, and TV’s may contain chemicals and heavy metals which can be harmful to human health.
- Illegally dumped items can pollute our fresh water supply. We only have one fresh water lens!
- Dump sites can greatly reduce property value.
What are the waste management laws in The Bahamas, anyway?
This law defines types of waste and lays out how you should containerize and dispose of waste. There are some differences for domestic, commercial and industrial waste. If you are unsure of which category you fall under, you should check the definitions on the first five pages.
This amendment includes updated charges for disposal.
The act guides the management of the Department of Environmental Health and provides guidelines for how the regulations should be enacted.
Fed up with illegal dumping in your community? Do something about it! Submit a report to our CrowdMap and we will pass on all reports to the Department of Environmental Health and The Ministry of Environment to show them that we do have a problem. We’ll be able to use the information you provide to help identify specific areas of concern so that they can be addressed.
Here are a selection of waste management laws in The Bahamas. Anyone caught breaking these laws is liable to a $5,000 fine or a year in jail.
- If garbage falls out of your roadside bin (or any container you are using to store trash), you are responsible to pick it up. If you don’t you are committing an offense.
- Garbage collectors are not required to pick up any trash from your home or business that exceeds 70 pounds.
- Tree clippings are to be tied in bundles no greater than 4ft in length or 70 pounds in weight
- If you are in charge of the construction or demolition of a house you, not the government, are responsible for removing any wastes related to those activities.
- Special waste includes sewage, medical waste and lead acid batteries and used oil. (These items shall not be disposed of except as specified by the Director of Environmental Health), Special wastes require a certificate of approval for disposal.
- Business owners are required to ensure that their property is kept free of trash, that garbage bins are available, and that trash receptacles are secure from scavenging animals.
- Only officials from the Department of Environmental Health are able to give permissions for the burning of waste (including at a legal dump). Waste should not be burned if it will cause smoke that is excessive, toxic or may affect people nearby.
- Vehicles carrying trash/waste must be covered!
- Littering is illegal, whether on public land or someone else’s private property
- Waste should only be dumped at a government sanctioned dump/landfill.
You Can Help By:
– Using government approved dump sites
– Joining community cleanups or starting one of your own
– Covering your truck when you are transporting debris
– Following Bahamian law regarding waste disposal
This video from Mackey Media, Ltd (2012) in Grand Bahama gives a good example of the challenges being faced on the islands. Much of the debris dumped in the pine forest is not visible until a fire goes through.
Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs. (2009, December 31). Bahamas Laws Online. Retrieved from: http://laws.bahamas.gov.bs
U.S. EPA. (1998). Illegal Dumping Prevention Guidebook, EPA 905-B-97-001. US. EPA Region 5: Chicago, Illinois. Accessed on: March 20, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.epa.gov/region5/waste/illegal_dumping/downloads/il-dmpng.pdf