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(PRESS RELEASE) – Residents from around the island may soon experience a reduction in breeding sites for vectors particularly rats and mosquitoes.
A joint operation to remove derelict vehicles along the carriage ways while securing public health has gotten under way.
The St. Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority in collaboration with the Environmental Health Division in the Ministry of Health and Wellness has embarked on the removal of 364 derelict vehicles from the islands roadways. 81 vehicles or 29% have since been removed.
The call is being made for greater participation and cooperation from vehicle owners. Davis Mathurin is the Zonal Officer with the St. Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority.
“It’s a month to month basis and we’re aiming to remove at least between 18 – 20 vehicles every month. I know it’s going to take a while but we are at least urging the public to meet us half way. The ministry is doing the public education part. The Environmental Department, the Vector Division, Solid Waste is also doing their part in terms of removing the vehicles, so we’re urging the public to be aware. Be more conscious of your surroundings, be aware that there is a lot of work being done by the various agencies and as individuals you can at least play your part.”
Under the Waste Management Act Section 38 of 2004, an authorized officer may at any time without giving any notice remove the derelict vehicle, white goods or any other kind of scrap metal left or caused to be left and may recover from the owner thereof the expenses reasonably incurred in connection with such removal. However despite the provisions under the law officials are appealing for cooperation from the public.
“The individuals especially if they’re planning to do some work on their vehicles, we also encourage them that when you’re done doing the work on the vehicles, within a timely manner your responsibility is to at least transport the derelicts to the landfill. Do not leave them on the road side. In most cases when you try to find the owners it’s always a difficulty until the day the vehicle is being removed and then there is always an issue.”
Environmental Health Officer, Charletta Charles said abandoned vehicles creates active or potential breeding sites for vectors such as rats and mosquitoes which are responsible for the spread of diseases such as leptospirosis, dengue, chikungunya and zika.
“What we want to do is to encourage persons if you have a vehicle which is no longer of use for you that you need to get rid of it appropriately and not inappropriately. What is does is it creates other environmental spill offs which can affect the larger community on a whole. So we’re just hoping that the community realizes negative impact that abandoned vehicles can have on our health and that they would take the necessary steps to get rid of not just the abandoned vehicles but overall their garbage responsibly.”
Earlier this week officials directed the removal of this abandoned vehicle in the north of the island creating one less breeding site for vectors.