Southampton residents fuming over illegal dumping

The head of an environmental charity has applauded a Southampton community for cracking down on illegal dumping that has marred their neighbourhood.

Traci Burgess, the executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful, added that the practice of illegal dumping was dangerous and incredibly common.

“Littering and illegal dumping is detracting from the natural beauty of our island. It is potentially causing damage to the environment, and it can potentially be hazardous to human health as well,” she said.

Ms Burgess was speaking after she shared photographs of illegally dumped waste — as well as the nearby community’s reaction — over social media.

The post, which was shared last week, said: “Why?! To whomever continues to illegally dump bulk waste at this roadside location in a residential area in Southampton, please stop!

“Offences for illegal dumping can result in fines and/or jail time.”

It added: “The neighbours have taken a stand by posting a notice to the offender and the Hustle Truck will be removing this bulk waste as soon as possible.

“To anyone who is illegally dumping, we urge you to please help to keep Bermuda beautiful by taking your trash to the appropriate dump facility.”

Ms Burgess said that she saw the “huge visible pile of waste” across from Whale Bay, right next to home-made signs that warned against illegal dumping.

She said that she took photographs of the site and shared them through KBB’s social platforms to spread awareness of the problem.

Ms Burgess added: “It’s important that everyone takes a stand on keeping our island beautiful, and this was just one example.”

Ms Burgess said that she did not know how often waste was dumped in the area, but said it had likely been for quite some time if the latest incident could trigger such a strong reaction.

She added that dumping was a significant problem across the island, and could be seen on public docks, parks and beaches.

Ms Burgess said: “We were doing a clean-up on Montpelier with Northlands Primary School and kids came back with a big swivel chair out of somebody’s house and a vacuum cleaner.

“Both items were found just around the corner from the school on Mount Hill.”

Ms Burgess said that the weight of trash removed by KBB has doubled every single year since 2021, with the weight of trash collected in 2023 being 155,000lb.

She said that much of this was “bulk waste” that was illegally dumped in “dozens of locations across the island”.

Ms Burgess added: “It’s an old issue that continues to plague the island.”

She reminded the public that illegal dumping could spill chemicals into the environment, which could become hazardous for plant and animal life as well as humans.

Ms Burgess added that the litter was unsightly and detracted from the natural beauty of the island.

She said: “You could very easily be injured by some of the bulk waste that has been illegally dumped, you could damage your property or vehicle if there was an accident, and it invites disease.

“Where there’s littering that has been amassed, it can attract rats, cats, feral chickens and all sorts of little critters that can spread disease.”

Bulk waste is required by law to be dropped off at the airport dump in St George’s or the Tynes Bay Waste Facility in Pembroke.

Those who dump waste illegally are committing an offence under the Waste and Litter Control Act 1987. There can be a fine of up to $5,000 for a first-time offence, and up to $10,000 for subsequent offences.

Anyone who spots illegally dumped garbage can call the Department of Waste Management for removal on 297-7946.

Abandoned vehicles can also be reported to the Transport Control Department by e-mailing abandonedvehicles@gov.bm or by calling 292-1271.

• Is illegal dumping a problem in your area? E-mail shendrickson@royalgazette.com to share your concerns

The Royal Gazette