Litterbugs face higher fines under new anti-litter regulations

Litterbugs who dispose of garbage in public places and out of vehicles can be fined $50,000 under new anti-littering rules laid in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Littering, by individuals and businesses, has been a chronic problem particularly in the city. This has contributed to the clogging up of drains and canals resulting in increased flooding.

Under the Environ-mental Protection (Litter Enforcement) Regulations 2013 laid in the National Assembly yesterday by Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud, individuals who litter in public places or throw garbage out of vehicles can be fined $50,000 if found guilty. If it cannot be determined who threw the garbage out of a vehicle, the driver shall be deemed to be the person who littered and can be fined $50,000 upon conviction.

If it cannot be determined who was driving the vehicle, its owner is liable for the offence unless he proves otherwise.

Meantime, businesses that dump garbage in public places can be fined $100,000 on conviction. The lack of garbage receptacles is not a defence.

According to the regulations, owners of public transportation must provide one or more receptacles for litter and if this is not done, the owner can be fined $15,000 on conviction.

If an individual litters on the private premises of another person, the litterbug can be fined $30,000 or imprisoned for six months on conviction.

In addition, anyone who assists litterbugs can be convicted for the offence and fined the same amount. If an individual or company continues to litter and is caught and convicted, the fine is doubled.

The regulations provide for litter prevention wardens. In addition, the police, public health inspectors, forest officers, mining officers, harbour master and officers of the Environmental Protection Agency are deemed litter prevention wardens.

The rules provide for local authorities or litter prevention wardens to warn persons to remove litter from their premises within three days and if this is not complied with, the offender can be fined $20,000 on conviction with an additional $5,000 for every day the contravention is continued after conviction. The local authority, after conviction, can also enter the premises and remove the litter and recover the expenses incurred in doing so.

An individual who prevents the authorised officer or litter prevention warden from doing so can be fined $20,000 on conviction.

The local authority and litter prevention wardens are also empowered to remove derelict vehicles from public places.

They can order the owner to remove the derelict vehicle within 48 hours and if this is not done, the owner can be fined $30,000 on conviction with $5,000 for every additional day that it is left.

They can order “unsightly premises… by reason of litter” to be cleaned up within 14 days and those failing to comply can be fined $20,000 on conviction. If the person feels that the order is unjust for any reason, he can request the minister to review it.

A person can be fined $30,000 if s/he obstructs a warden, fails to comply within a reasonable time with the requirement of a warden exercising his/her power, refuses to give his/her name or address or gives a false name or address, falsely pretends to be a warden, threatens or assaults a warden, or attempts to bribe a warden.

Those who tamper with garbage receptacles can be fined $15,000 on conviction.

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