Community asked to rally to help family clean up trash dumped on their land

A property owner whose land in Warwick has been the target of years of illegal dumping will soon get help to clear it away.

The owner, who wished not to be named, expressed her gratitude towards Kevin Santucci, a chaplain, who is spearheading a community effort to help the family deal with what has now become an environmental hazard.

The Royal Gazette first reported on the site on Pearman’s Hill, behind the PHC Stadium close to the Railway Trail, in November after Dr Santucci came across it while out walking.

He estimated that the trash on the field spanned an area of about 70ft by 40ft.

It has since emerged that the owner of the land inherited the property from her father, who passed away eight years ago, at which time people had already started to dump their trash there.

The property owner said: “They dump everything — furniture, household stuff, stolen bikes … it will be costly to get people to come and help us. We are not in a financial position to deal with it. We need the help.

“My nieces, my sister and I are going to help. I want to show them the importance of contributing and keeping the island clean. It’s a good lesson for the young ones.

“We are very grateful to chaplain Santucci.”

The property owner’s mother added: “It’s a different world now. People don’t have that respect for people’s property. You can’t make yourself sick worrying about it.”

Dr Santucci is calling on the community to help whether it be through in-kind donations, the lending of equipment or through volunteering to physically remove the trash. He has set a date for Sunday, January 22 at 9am.

He said: “This is a community concern, and I say, if there is a need in our country then let’s help. So I am calling upon the general public to come beside us and assist. It’s our duty to look out for each other.

“We need people to come and help pick up the trash but we also need equipment. It would be useful to get two containers to put the trash in, and we will also need bins, and transport to take the trash away.

“If I was visiting the island and I saw that Bermuda has historical trails, I would want to walk on them to see what it is all about. But then if I came across that stuff I would think, what is that doing here?

“Bermuda is a special gem and we need to keep it as a special gem — that is my philosophy.

“Residents’ homes are depreciating in value because of this. Some of them have already put their hands up to come and help in the effort.”

The chaplain said there must be a way of deterring people from dumping more trash there in the future.

“A sign would have to be erected saying ‘No dumping’ and that persons will be prosecuted. Illegal dumping is prohibited under the law.”

Illegal dumping is an offence in Bermuda under the Waste and Litter Control Act 1987.

Offenders are subject to prosecution with a first summary conviction carrying up to a $5,000 fine, and up to a $10,000 fine for subsequent convictions.

The property owner said it has been difficult to get an estimate on fencing costs while all the clutter is there. She said once it is cleared out she will look into securing the area and is considering informing the police of the criminal activity.

The Royal Gazette asked the Government if it could help in any way, whether by providing equipment or waiving fees to dump the trash at one of its waste facilities. The Government did not respond by press time.

The environmental charity Keep Bermuda Beautiful has been involved in discussions with Dr Santucci about the problem and said that while it is not usually in the business of cleaning up private property, this extreme case could be considered an extenuating circumstance.

Traci Burgess, KBB’s executive director, said: “KBB understands there are extenuating circumstances regarding the waste that has accumulated on this private property over the years.

“KBB will provide bags, gloves and litter grabbers for the volunteers. We thank the community for pulling their resources together to help keep this piece of Bermuda clean and beautiful.”

Neville Tyrell, the area MP, added: “There are discussions with KBB and area residents, and we are going to help as best we can.”

The Royal Gazette