Tipping fee waived
Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe tonight announced a temporary waiver of the controversial tipping fee.
In an interview with state-run CBC, Lowe said the move was in response to the ongoing strike action by unionized workers at the state-run Sanitation Service Authority (SSA), which has resulted in unsightly pile ups all across the country.
“. . . For the time being we are creating that facility for persons who are willing to come forward [and help],” said Lowe in announcing the waiver.
Just yesterday, Shadow Minister of Health Dr Maria Agard pleaded with the Government to find a speedy solution to the ongoing strike by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), saying she was worried that the pileup of garbage across the island could pose a serious health threat to Barbadians.
“As the Shadow Minister of Health, and also in my capacity as a health care provider, I certainly believe that the withdrawal of services by the SSA indicates that this industrial action is a cause for national concern,” Dr Agard insisted.
“I acknowledge the rights of aggrieved workers to withhold their labour for the advancement of their own just cause, and I support their right to do so. However, the resulting accumulation of garbage nationwide now places Barbadians at risk for disease and injury,” Dr Agard said in an interview with Barbados TODAY, in which she said a swift resolution to the impasse must be found in the interest of the nation’s health.
The waiver also comes on the heels of recent concerns expressed about an increase in illegal dumping since the May 4 introduction of the tipping fee.
Among those who have been heavily critical of the levy is prominent businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams, the owner of the Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre at Vaucluse, St Thomas, which is the island’s main waste disposal plant.
In a recent interview with Barbados TODAY, Williams described the introduction of the tipping fee as a backward step by the Government, while warning that would only serve to turn Barbados into an illegal dumping ground.
However, Government has been refusing to give in to demands by private garbage collectors for the tipping fee to be scrapped on the grounds that its implementation was unfair and threatened the survival of their businesses.
So far, it has only agreed that instead of the initial $25 per tonne plus VAT, the tipping fee would be levied at $40 per load for all categories of waste, including municipal solid waste, rock, soil, construction and demolition waste, green waste and coconuts.
Liquid waste delivered to the SBRC is also charged at $40 per truckload.
Waste haulers, who staged protests back in May when the tipping fee was first introduced, are also required to register with the SSA and pay an annual licence fee, as well as produce a tax clearance certificate from the Barbados Revenue Authority.