14.10.15

Litterbugs: Messing With The Law

Rachel McLarty
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Litterbugs: Messing With The Law

Has littering in a public place become so widespread that it is out of control? One school of thought is that the laws already in place to contain offenders are not being enforced. Another thought is that the law which makes littering an offence cannot be the only deterrent to prevent a person from doing an act which ought to be governed by one's moral compass. Wasn't there a time when it was said that "cleanliness was next to Godliness?" Surely, that time has not passed...has it?

There is also the unpleasant but common problem of urinating in a public place.

This article addresses the two concerns, separately.

The Law v The Litterbug

National Solid Waste Management Act ("the Act") gives the National Solid Waste Management Authority ("the Authority"), the arm of Government charged with safeguarding public health, certain powers in relation to the control of litter.

Litter is defined as solid waste in a public place and this includes refuse, rubbish, bottles, glass, debris, dirt, rubble, ballast, stones, noxious or contained substances or waste matter or any other matter likely to deface, make untidy, obstruct of cause nuisance in a public place.

Aside from medical and hazardous waste, solid waste includes refuge of sludge from a waste treatment facility, water supply plant, air pollution control facility and garbage.

The Authority is required to provide and maintain, based on any number it considers necessary, an amount of trash receptacles, in public places. For clarity, the definition of "public place" includes every public highway, street, sidewalk and the like; public gardens, parks, stadium, or other place of general resort to which public access is allowed with or without the payment of a fee; beaches river banks and the like to which public access is allowed with or without the payment of a fee; any other open space to which members of the public have a right of access without having to pay for it.

The Authority may designate any area in any public place as a litter collection area, so too may it designate any premises, with the approval of its owner. In addition, it may determine the type of litter which may be deposited in a receptacle or litter collection area, and the time, place or circumstances in which litter may be deposited in a litter collection area.