By Admin. Updated 12:33 a.m., Friday, May 20, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
A total of 605 derelict vehicles have been removed from the streets of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines by the Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA) since 2017.
The CWSA’s Derelict Vehicle Removal Program passed the 600 mark on May 3, when 24 derelict vehicles were removed from the streets.
According to the Litter Act (Act number 15 of 1991), a derelict vehicle means, “a vehicle or part of a vehicle left in a public place which by reason of its condition appears to have been abandoned”.
The law also states that, “until the contrary is proved any motor vehicle left in a public place which does not carry a current licence issued by the Licensing Authority,” is a derelict vehicle.
Mr. Winsbert Quow, head of the CWSA’s Solid Waste Management Unit told One News St. Vincent in an interview that the derelict vehicle removal program is important to protect the environment.
“They are a public health hazard – they harbor rats, roaches, and mosquitoes,” Mr. Quow said, referring to the derelict vehicles.
He also said that the presence of such vehicles can be a health hazard for children who might play in them and get injured by sharp, rusty edges, and they might be a traffic hazard on our already narrow roads.
“They are just generally unsightly and reduce the aesthetics of a place,” he added.
After a break in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the derelict vehicle program which began in 2017 recommended on May 3, 2022.
But how does the program work?
Here is how the derelict vehicle removal process works:
Under the law, the police and the public health department have the authority to issue a litter removal notice. If the owner is identified, this notice can be served. The notice can also be posted on the vehicle itself.
A green sticker is placed on the vehicle, and the owner has a minimum of three days to respond.
If the period on the notice is expired, then the vehicle becomes garbage . A notice is then given to CWSA to remove vehicle.
“If you ignore the notice, then you are saying it is garbage. Once CWSA picks it up, you no longer have rights to it and it is treated as such,” Mr. Quow said.
The whole effort is a collaboration between the police, the Public Health Department, the Physical Planning Unit, and the Central Water and Sewage Authority – CWSA, Mr. Quow said.
Vehicles picked up the the CWSA are then transported to Diamond and compacted for shipment. The CWSA sells to private persons because “we don’t want out landfills to be filled up,” Mr. Quow said.
“The idea is to get them out of the country to reduce pollution,” he added.
Persons who leave derelict vehicles on the public road face a maximum fine of XCD $5,000 or 6 months in jail for littering.
Private individuals can call CWSA or any towing service to take their derelict vehicles to the landfill. “It is free to bring it to the landfill,” Mr. Quow said.