THE National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is calling on all Jamaicans to join the campaign against illegal dumping, particularly on National Solid Waste Day, June 6.

The day will be observed under the theme ‘SOLID: Stamp Out Littering and Illegal Dumping’. It forms part of National Environmental Awareness Week, which runs from June 1 to 8.

“We want to bring the attention of the country to illegal dumping as we attack this economically devastating monster. We want to get the conversation going at the community level where people see this, not as something that is being done by the NSWMA but as a duty they have to protect the environment and to keep their communities clean,” executive director of the NSWMA, Audley Gordon, told JIS News in an interview.

“It is possible to have a clean Jamaica. It is possible to have clean communities. It is possible to have clean parks and clean open lots. It is possible for persons to not dump illegally. It is possible for us to just take our discarded items to a landfill, pay the tipping fee and get it done responsibly,” he added.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the authority’s activities for the day are limited to electronic communication and engagement with the public.

On June 5, the day before National Solid Waste Day, the authority will conduct a live outside broadcast from its head office, where portfolio Minister Desmond McKenzie, the authority’s board of directors and regional operations managers will join in discussion about the costly matter of illegal dumping.

Gordon pointed out that the authority’s funding from property taxes is for the collection of domestic garbage, and that the clearing of illegal dumps can cost the NSWMA anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million. This cost, he argued, “impairs” their ability to deliver the domestic service.

He implored citizens to be better custodes of the environment.

“We take it so seriously that we are going to be dedicating the entire programme to this particular message. It is costing us too much, and we also know the devastating impact that it is having on the environment.

“Why put your country through this? Jamaica doesn’t just belong to the NSWMA, it belongs to all of us, so instead of creating mini dumps, just think and be more responsible, because your action is making it almost impossible for us to deliver the quality service you deserve,” Gordon said.

“This is Jamaica where we believe in the possible and we know when we put our hearts and minds to something, it is done. I invite that partnership, and I believe that together we will have a clean Jamaica,” he added.

The broadcast on illegal dumping will be carried on Nationwide News 90FM from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on June 5, with the discussions continuing on the authority’s social media pages, @nswma and @nswma876, on National Solid Waste Day, June 6.