Many vendors are selling food in the midst of garbage at the Anna Regina Market.
A visit to the Region Two market last Wednesday by Stabroek News revealed that many vendors, some of whom are responsible for the garbage which litters the areas, ply their trade alongside the refuse, the majority of which was strewn around a trailer that was supposed to be the waste receptacle.
Several vendors are saying that the Town Council is to blame for the situation
because it does not empty the trailer early enough and also because it was the Town Council which took the decision to move the trailer from its previous location.
One man said that in the past, the trailer was situated closer to the rear of the market. Although the garbage would pile up on the trailer and even overflow onto the surrounding areas, he said it was not in an area that affected a lot of the vendors.
However, now, he explained, the trailer is located on the midsection of the shoulder of the market access road, near the canal and in open view of all. This is not only an eyesore to the vendors, he said, but also persons who patronise the market. The man also said that the trailer is not emptied often enough, which causes the garbage overflow and causes pungent odours to harass shoppers and vendors alike.
But Diane Critchlow, the Town Clerk of the Anna Regina municipality, said that it was not the Town Council but rather some of the vendors and other residents from neighbouring villages who cause the unsightly garbage situation. Speaking to Stabroek News last Wednesday, Critchlow said that some of the vendors, despite the presence of the garbage trailer, discard their waste without care.
In addition to this, she said that though the trailer is only supposed to collect the refuse from market vendors, persons from as far as Black Bush usually transport their garbage and dump it into the trailer. This, she said, is done so as to escape paying for garbage disposal.
The Anna Regina municipality was initially responsible for garbage collection in about 18 villages. However, ever since the responsibility of solid waste management was contracted out to Puran Bros by the Ministry of Local Government, residents have been required to pay the waste disposal company to have their garbage picked up.
Several residents have indicated their displeasure with the arrangement. One man said that he pays his rates and taxes religiously which should cover several services, including garbage collection. As a result, he said, he does not understand why he has to pay additional money to have his garbage picked up.
Nevertheless, as people not authorised to use the trailer use it to dump their garbage, it continues to overflow onto the side of the road, and even into the road used by vehicles to gain access to the market. Furthermore, some of the garbage even makes its way into the nearby canal.
Another of the other challenges confronting the municipality, Critchlow said, is road side vending at the Anna Regina Market. She said efforts are continuing to have the vendors plying their business on the sides of the road move to areas inside the market itself.
Though roadside vending has existed for years, she said, it has reached a level where it can no longer be tolerated, and has forced the municipality to react. She added that some of these same vendors park their vehicles along the shoulder of the market access road, which further congests an already clustered road. Some vendors have been blatant enough to park their vehicles besides “No Parking” signboards.
The Police, Critchlow said, have been called in recently and a final notice has been sent to all those who continue to oppose the rules of the market. These persons have been warned, Critchlow said, and the necessary action will be taken if they insist on being wayward.