Following the passing of new litter prevention regulations and subsequent appointment
of Litter Wardens to enforce the provisions of the regulations, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hosted one of several workshops at the Herdmanston Lodge yesterday.
The workshops are aimed at appointing persons holding a specified class of office as Litter Prevention Wardens under the Litter Prevention Regulations (2013).
A public release from the Ministry explained that officers from the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Harbour Masters and Public Health Officers were officially appointed as Litter Wardens. “These Categories of Officers are deemed Litter Wardens under section 21(6) of the regulations. Honorary Litter Wardens were also appointed under section 21 (1), and included the Officers of the Protected Areas Commission, and the City Constabulary of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC).
“These newly appointed and empowered Litter Wardens were given an overview of the various provisions of the Litter Prevention Regulations, including the offences and the associated penalties and fines, and guidance on standard operating procedures in terms of identifying offences, collecting and giving evidence in court, against an offender.”
The NRM said that under the Litter Regulations, it is an offence to litter in a public place, particularly to deposit litter in a public place; to deposit litter from a moving vehicle onto a public place; and to cause or permit persons to commit any of the mentioned offences.
The NRM related that, “Any person/persons found guilty of any of these offences under the Litter Regulations shall be liable to a fine of between fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or three months imprisonment in the case of an individual, and one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in the case of a business entity.”
The Ministry explained that the exercise follows a commitment by Minister Robert Persaud to have staff of the regulatory agencies of the natural resources and environmental sectors, along with other critical agencies such as the Guyana Police Force and City Constabulary, play a much more proactive and prominent role in providing support to the EPA and the Ministry, in enforcing the Litter Prevention Regulations.
“This commitment was emphasized by Kemraj Parsram, Director for Compliance and Enforcement at EPA when he responded to a question about how the EPA intends to deal with the ever increasing quantity of garbage and littering during the upcoming Christmas Season, saying to the newly authorized Litter Wardens… “You are the plan!”
Parsram inferred that through the empowered officers, the capacity and planned efforts to enforce the regulations and reduce littering are greatly strengthened.
In March, the Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry took on a major role to implement litter wardens to address the upsurge of garbage in public spaces. The Mayor and City Council (M&CC); the constitutional body tasked with managing the capital said it was financially incapable of handling the buildup of garbage and the Ministry and EPA stepped in.
Despite the M&CC having a problem with the implementation of litter wardens without their consultation, they eventually welcomed the idea, since the initiative was one that was and still is needed. The Council was however upset that the new legislation is already clashing with the Municipal Act and power of the body. They were even more peeved that the wardens were being appointed when the Administration is intentionally preventing the Council from functioning efficiently.
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