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Govt toughens stance on littering

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government has adopted a “zero tolerance” approach to crack down on littering and illegal fly tipping, with increased fines, changes to legislation and an additional collection of cardboard and refuse in Main Street during the day.

During a press conference held on Friday, the Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes, said it will also become an offence to litter from a vehicle.

Rubbish in Main Street will continue to be collected between 7 and 8pm, but there will be an additional collection in the “middle of the day”, at 12.30pm for cardboard and 2pm for rubbish.

The development follows discussions with the Chamber of Commerce and the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses, Dr Cortes said.

“We are encouraging businesses and residents in the Main Street area when they have the rubbish available in the morning to put it out [in cubicles] then, because then it will be collected,” Dr Cortes said.

“And in fact, what we're doing is we're doubling the capacity of the refuse cubicles to accept rubbish because it's being emptied twice a day instead of once a day.”

“So all these different things that we're doing in consultation with the litter committee, in consultation with business, we think is going to have an effect in improving the state of Gibraltar.”

Further discussions are also being held to encourage businesses to recycle, especially for those businesses which produce large amounts of recyclable material such as glass.

Dr Cortes said this will give the businesses responsibility in ensuring the material is “disposed of in the right manner”.

The offence of littering from a vehicle will be added to the legislation as an amendment in September’s meeting of Parliament, Dr Cortes said.

“The owner of the vehicles would be liable if somebody throws litter out the window or deposits litter or rubbish from a vehicle,” Dr Cortes said.

“And it also makes this sort of action within the nature reserve an aggravating factor, obviously, because of the impact on wildlife, the danger of glass causing fires and so on.”

Earlier this year the Government published draft legislation detailing an increase in the level of fines in order to “tackle the problem of illegal littering and fly tipping around Gibraltar”.

The fine for throwing, dropping or otherwise incorrectly disposing of litter has increased from £70 to £250.

The fine for disposing of dangerous litter incorrectly has increased from £250 to £1000.

Dangerous litter covers a wide range of items – from old paint, oil, dog waste and used nappies to sharp items, mattresses or large items of furniture or household goods.

Large or hazardous items should be taken to either the Eco Park on Devil’s Tower Road or the Civic Amenities Site on Europa Advance Road.

Both sites are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 5pm on weekends as well as most public holidays, and disposal is free of charge.

“General litter bins should not be used for the disposal of household refuse and there is no refuse collection on Saturday night/Sunday morning so refuse should either be taken out on Friday night or kept at home until Sunday.”

“On Main Street, rubbish may be put out between the hours of 7 to 8pm only and only on Main Street itself, not any side streets.”

“Anyone who wishes to dispose of waste outside those hours must deposit it in the nearest refuse cubicle.”

Legislation has also been amended to make it an offence to contaminate a recycling bin with mixed household waste or indeed, the incorrect type of waste, the statement added.

“Many people take considerable time and care to separate their waste into the correct bins only for their efforts to be undermined by an inconsiderate few throwing other types of waste in with the recyclates,” the statement said.

“The fine for this is £250.”

“Cardboard boxes should be flattened out before placing them in the blue bins in order to maximize the space available.”

“Waste cooking oil can be disposed of in the orange bins by placing it inside a sealed plastic container.”

In a hard-hitting statement, the Ministry for Environment said: “Gibraltar’s cleanliness is the responsibility of all of us and Government will be adopting a zero tolerance approach to those who choose to litter.”

“CCTV cameras have been put in place around Gibraltar and will be used to identify offenders.”

“Litter Wardens, Environmental Monitors, Environmental Agency Officers, Environmental Protection and Research Officers as well as the RGP are empowered to enforce this legislation.”

“If you are caught, you will be fined.”

Chamber welcomes more refuse collections

The Chamber of Commerce on Friday said it welcomed the additional collections of rubbish for businesses in Casemates, Main Street and the neighbouring pedestrianised areas.

It said it had been lobbying Government over the past two years to arrange for this.

“The ultimate objective is so that no rubbish is left on the pavements or anywhere on the ground in the pedestrianised areas,” the Chamber said.

“This has been both unsightly and unhygienic and gives an appalling impression to tourists and business visitors.”

The Chamber said it has notified its members of the changes and provided them with a map of each bin store in locations near pedestrian areas.

“After an introductory period, government inspectors will be conducting spot checks and issuing fines to people or businesses which leave rubbish on the streets,” the Chamber statement said.

“The Chamber appreciates that these changes may mean some additional tasks will need to be undertaken by members, but the objective is worthwhile and will make the pedestrianised areas both cleaner and more attractive as a result.”

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