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Scrap the tipping fee!

Government has been advised to scrap its controversial tipping fee — at least for the time being!

Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Alex McDonald made the call yesterday at a media conference at which he expressed concern about an apparent increase in illegal dumping across the island, as well as recent outbreaks of mosquito-borne Chikungunya and Zika viruses.

McDonald pointed out that since the $25 tipping fee was introduced here last year, the incidence of illegal dumping has risen exponentially. And he pointed the accusing finger at “unscrupulous” private waste haulers who have been trying to avoid paying the waste disposal levy.

He acknowledged that despite low fuel prices the waste haulers had to contend with high transportation costs. Therefore, he said, “an added cost of a tipping fee, we believe, has driven us towards this type of anti-social behaviour”.

Though not excusing the practice of illegal dumping, McDonald said, “we have to make it easy for people to follow what the right thing is, and I think that we need to revisit the question of the tipping fee at a time of a national emergency”.

The private sector spokesman recalled that just recently as he was taking part in a nature trail he witnessed a truck dumping garbage illegally in one of the island’s gullies.

“This is not, by the way, Government’s fault. It is not anybody else’ fault except those who decide that they are just going to take their garbage, probably charge the fee and dump it,” he told reporters.

However, McDonald said he was also aware that some haulers were not charging the tipping fee as a means of achieving a competitive edge but he advised businesses using the services of waste haulers to ask for receipts to ensure the haulers were paying the levy.

“So when we use them again for the next round, we say, ‘well, I gave you the business last week, can I see the receipt from the dump that you gave at that time?’,” he said, insisting that the private sector must be responsible as well.

“But I am saying we must consider a moratorium on those [tipping] fees so that we can allow for the nature to clean itself. We have to do it. If not the next outbreak could be leptospirosis,” said McDonald.

He said as part of its effort to rid the island of garbage pile up, the BPSA would “in another two months or so” be organizing a national cleanup campaign.

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