Garbage piles fuel public health concerns

| 06/12/2017 | 64 Comments
Cayman News Service

Garbage bins overflow at Smith Cove

(CNS): Recent problems at the Department of Environmental Health relating to trouble with equipment and staff shortages appear to be causing a backlog on rubbish and recycling collection, raising concerns about public health. All over Grand Cayman in public places, garbage piles are growing and the issue is causing a stir on social media. Officials from DEH recently said that their collection schedule was back on track after technical problems with equipment, but the growing rubbish piles are an indication that things are not yet back to normal.

The department also revealed that it would begin its Christmas bulk waste collection schedule today, adding to the workload.

The growing public concerns about the waste problems around the island comes against a backdrop of overtime troubles at the department, which was an issue raised during Finance Committee. Officials have recently confirmed that an internal audit is now underway at the department to find out why the DEH is paying out so much overtime. A freeze on that pay has been in place for a few weeks and there are indications that this, alongside the technical equipment trouble, may be causing the delays in collections.

Meanwhile, concerns are growing about the public health risks as well as aesthetics, as large piles of bulk waste pile up on the roadside as residents anticipated the bulk collection, which appears to be getting off to a late start this weekend, garbage bins over-flow at tourist locations such as Smith Cove, and recycling at the supermarket drop-offs pile up.

Parent groups that contacted CNS as well as our commenters have all voiced worries over the increase in rats and other pests, as well as problems with dogs and cats ripping open garbage bags in the growing piles and how the waste in the streets looks to visitors during the busy season.

The issue of collection is another bone of contention, as many residents, especially in the eastern districts, insist that they are not receiving regular weekly collections any more, with some suggesting the collection has fallen to every two weeks at best.

Bulk waste removal was set to start today, officials said in a release, as they asked residents to place the larger garbage on the road side only on the specified dates for their districts.

For dates and details, see DEH Bulk Waste Removal Campaign Begins

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: environmental health, Health

Comments (64)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Third world is third wold. Best they can do is try and make it look like its not. Third world problems come from the people and can not be fixed by “others”. Education starting at home is the only fix but a culture of ignorance will always overcome education. Live with it and leave when you’ve had enough.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Every time you drive passed the dump is a health concern but not to those who apparently run the country.

  3. Anonymous says:

    DEH needed new management for ages now. Have you ever tried calling there to speak to the director, he is never available, you leave numerous messages and he never gets back to you. Obviously he is not that busy managing!! The population also needs to step it up. I would be ashamed to generate so much garbage and allow anyone to see it piled up outside my house. If I had to walk to the landfill with it, believe me I would try it. How many of us are trying the recycle method, it really works, if you doubt me give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.

    • anonymous says:

      They talk about staff shortages, surely this should not be happening, not with so many unemployed, after all it does not take a great deal of experience to be a garbage collector. All potential Govt candidates are required to be drug free but clean police clearance should not be a block for job of this type. Temporary workers can do this sort of work as well. Budget limits restrict a lot of hiring but if short staffing is the reason for the non collection garbage this issue needs to be addressed immediately

  4. FED UP! says:

    Why can’t the Dept of Tourism get involved in this? Would they be okay w/ having garbage overflowing in front of their establishment? Would they be okay with having tourists and locals come through the airport with trash overflowing the bins? All these comments are pretty much missing that point- overflowing trash in PUBLIC SPACES is an EYE SORE and an EMBARRASSMENT to this Country — full stop!!!!!!!

    This picture has a residential sized trash bin at Smith’s Cove. Honestly, is one of those and one bigger drum enough for all the traffic that uses that beach area? No, that’s ridiculous!

    How about these Heads In the Sand Government Officials take a few $$$ out of their exuberant salaries and buy some proper bins for THE COUNTRY’s PUBLIC SPACES– it’s the least they can do if they can’t “find money” to fix the garbage trucks are place enough receptacles in these areas! It’s not really rocket science here! And why can’t JUNK try to PARTNER with the gov’t and provide some bins so those of us who CARE about RECYCLING can do so while we’re at the damn beach, instead of lugging it back home with us. (not that I mind doing that, but I shouldn’t have to)!

    Aside from it looking and smelling bad, it’s irresponsible b/c the wind blows and there goes a bunch of plastic forks and styrofoam containers into our beautiful ocean!

    Bottom Line- This stinks and something needs to be done about it! Where do we line up as a community and get this sh!t taken care of?? Literally!!? I leave my rant with this……

    “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

    ― David Brower

  5. Anonymous says:

    There are 3 sources of trash, waste and debris on this island: residential, visitors and developers.
    Who is the major contributor to the ever growing Trashmore and trash bins that seem to be always overflowing?
    When I lived in Bermuda I thought it was pretty trashed. Then I moved to Grand Cayman and it looked cleaner, compared, back than. Then I started walking SMB and go to Smith Cove and saw the real picture. People on this island have no pride. They would blame each other instead of just cleaning the mess. ADOPT a spot on a beach and keep it clean.

    • West bay Premier says:

      1:01 , how can you say what you said , everyone has done what they were supposed to do, put it in the garbage can for pickup , but the one responsible for pickup didn’t do it go back to Bermuda and learn more .

  6. Anonymous says:

    More cruise ships visitors please! This island doesn’t have enough waste.

    • West bay Premier says:

      As I am reading some very interesting comments on here , and it sounds like the reasons why DOH doesn’t have funds/money for maintenance of their equipment and do the garbage pickup .
      Is because Government has levied the garbage fees , and did tax increase on import Tax . Then the Importation Tax is been given away as incentives for development , so then there is no Revenue been collected there too . But the developers are piling up all those Tax credits that Government is giving away as incentives for the development .

      So now we think that the garbage collection is a problem now . You wait until you hear that the Developers are leaving the Islands . Government don’t have any control over them , they go where the money is flowing .

      Did anyone hear that the USA Federal government gave Puerto Rico a load of money for Aid and all the big people got big Christmas Bonuses ? I think that the same thing could also happen in the Cayman Islands .

      I believe that you Cayman Islands VOTERS better wake up before it’s too late and forget about this one being your FRIEND and I have to vote for him/her .

    • West bay Premier says:

      The last time I seen or heard anything at Smith cove , was dig me deepa , not pile me up higher.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Civil service incompetence is never ending…. time for more awards franzie……zzzzzz

  8. Anonymous says:

    Looks like there are a lot of op

  9. Anonymous says:

    Drove out to Rum Point this weekend. Couldn’t believe the amount of garbage by roadside. Fridges, mattresses, old kitchens, washing machines. I could go on and on. DEH what is going on. God help us once the Christmas garbage starts to pile up.

    • Anonymous says:

      the reason for the fridges, mattresses etc on the roadside (now) is b/c of the Christmas Bulk Waste Clean Up which happens in December every year. However, that’s not to say there isn’t tons of cups, styrofoam containers etc being tossed out of idiot’s windows all the time!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t DEH partner with the prison and train inmates who will be released within 1-2 years to work the garbage trucks like in other parts of the world?

    Only good behaviour inmates could qualify.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am so tired of hearing excuses from CIG in general and DEH in particular!
    This stinks! I mean that literally!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable!! I was picking up trash at Smith Cove last Sunday and wondered where ALL YOU save the Cove folks were? It takes a village and the government buying the empty lot has NOT improved locals or tourists enjoyment, just another boondoggle, we should have let the low-low density developer build his 16 units, better than same ol CI trash I say!!!
    Failed political win= smith cove loss.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would be nice if we get a truck and garbage bags and just help out by doing some good old cayman cleanup.and in the near future we could all help if we take our garbage with us. It takes so much out of to complain all the time. Not only that ,we know the gov ont too concern…we can do it,that’s the kind of people we are.merry Christmas.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I know I won’t be very popular saying this but Government shouldn’t have done away with payment of garbage collection fees. If every household paid CI$100 a year then there wouldn’t be an issue and the funds could go towards new trucks, staff etc. Happy to pay it as its a necessity.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you force collection of the $100? if they don’t pay you could stop garbage collection but a lot of the locals would not care if their garbage piled up. They would throw it in the Ocean or nearest bush. A lot of third world attitude here. Called lazy.

      • Anonymous says:

        what is your definition of “locals” here please?

      • Anonymous says:

        You could have the garbage fee tacked onto to the water bill to enforce payment.

        • Anonymous says:

          You mean make a private water company (in West Bay) collect an unrelated tax? Many other countries doing that? – No, because you keep your bills separate so if you have a problem with one it means you don’t get your water (or your light, another common suggestion) shut off because you’re arguing over your garbage collection. Also, it keeps the accounting simpler or all concerned.

        • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely correct, but unfortunately Government doesn’t even know how many “households” there are on Island. You seen all these “add-ons” and illegal buildings?

      Cayman’s Government and Civil Servants have lost complete control over what is going on around here. We don’t know who lives on Island, where they live and from recent reports also have no clue which license plates are still valid and which ones haven’t been used since the 90s!

    • Anonymous says:

      In case you haven’t been paying attention we are all supposed to be paying for it in the 2% extra duty that is levied; this means everyone pays rather than the few who used to pay, but everyone’s garbage was collected.

    • Anonymous says:

      DEH got new fleet of trucks just last year!

    • Crown Jewels Smell Bad says:

      Anonymous 06/12/2017 @ 7.06 pm. Actually the CIG added on 2.5% on the import duties to have adequate funds to be able to better handle refuse collection. But that does not matter if you have poor management and the wrong people in positions of importance. We really need to sub contract garbage collection to the private companies and collect garbage 2 or 3 times each week.

    • Anonymous says:

      2 % duties was added to the 20 % duties for the garbage collection, for that way all house holds payed for the garbage collection, the other way 100 D per year maybe only 405 PAYED.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Yuck. Even developing countries manage to keep tourist destinations free of garbage.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman loves its stinky dump so much they’re gonna make it spread out across all the islands. It’s the Mt. Trashmore expansion.

    Then you will see the Government rewarding its inept employees once again with more plaques.

  16. West bay Premier says:

    who is responsible for the garbage not being picked up ? Government and yourselves .
    When someone is responsible for doing a job / service and they don’t , then go public with your criticism and shame them an disgrace them . If you don’t your service will continue to a disgraceful mess .
    This is the only how you gets good service from these kind of Department and Governments.

    You can’t sit down with your mouth shut and you shouldn’t.

    • West bay Premier says:

      And better yet the Government and DEH should be ashamed of themselves for not been able to deliver the service of garbage pick up for the Island. Are they still sending garbage pickup bills? If they are tell them no pickup no pay .

    • West bay Premier says:

      This is Government problem why it has to make so many excuses is because the Islands has become so populated and Government didn’t plan for the infrastructure demands. But still shame on the Government for destroying the Taxpayers money and not providing the most essential services to the people /Islands.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wow, once again many experts on…well…rubbish…and funnily enough these are the ones I believe most.

  18. satirony says:

    I noticed the DEH recently cleared up some huge fly-tips off High Rock Road. I also see the work they do when clearing the roadsides of garbage, all the way to East End. The coast road is beautiful now, and will be for a couple of weeks, until trucks allow stuff to blow off their loads and drivers toss out their lunch bags. Perhaps if we changed our culture and took more pride in our shared environment, the DEH would have a better chance of catching up. I’m not making excuses, but the way the few trash our island is shameful and completely unnecessary.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re right!…but I’m very skeptical it’ll improve. Question: when last was anyone fined or prosecuted for violating trash disposal laws? How much effective consistent traffic law enforcement is “consistently” visible? Why are dump truck allowed to drive past BT Police station with brackish / salt / corrosive water pouring out the back…multiple times everyday? Why do Police and other Govt. officials flout the traffic laws so much, then expect others to abide by it during their “campaigns”?
      None of these questions require a “Task-Force”.

    • Anonymous says:

      It should be mandatory that the skips are covered when transported and that the garbage truck closes it’s back when driving 70 miles an hour down the road. There is so much stuff blow off those vehicles it is ridiculous!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is there such a thing as Fourth World?

  20. Anonymous says:

    1. EVERY commercial operation should be using a skip not bins. These can be shared across a complex if applicable.
    2. EVERY residential complex of >3 units should be using a skip.
    3. DoEH should exit the business of skip rental & clearing, grabber truck, etc. Leave this to the several private sector companies offering these services.
    4. DoEH should focus their employees, equipment, management of individual household garbage collection and the recycling efforts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you have no idea about garbage collection.

      Routine garbage collection needs to be a service totally funded by the government, whether that be collections by the DEH or by private sector firms who are paid a contract fee by the government. Leaving garbage collection to private sector to determine who gets collected, will mean collections won’t be made if residents don’t pay their garbage fees, meaning we are back to the uncollected piles of trash. The non-payment of garbage fees was the issue that prompted government to cease charging residents directly, and instead the govt increased import duty by 2% (this was some years ago).

      Promoting skips is fine, but residences and businesses need a place for the skip to go, and a clear route for the truck to access that skip. I think you’ll find that most residences and many business don’t have the space, and to create it, will need to spend heavily.

      The current system is in theory fine. Weekly, and better still twice-weekly collections (as it used to be) should be the norm. The DEH just needs to get its act together to keep trucks in order, to keep their staff happy and well paid (would you do their job ?), and to do the great service the public expects and appreciates. And I’m not a government employee.

    • Anonymous says:

      6. 3br homes that house 15+ Filipinos should also have skips and not bins. The bags pile high long before collection time and the chickens rip the bags open (if they use bags) and trash goes all over the road. It’s the perfect environment to encourage rats and flies.

  21. Veritas says:

    Aside from the poor guys actually collecting the garbage, there are people in the DEH who should be very familiar with bulk management.

  22. Anonymous says:

    As a former government employee I know that the civil service is many times unfairly targetted. But, it has become painfully obvious that new management is needed in this department. It is asking too much to ask the persons who are preciding over the deterioration of its basic core function to be the ones to precide over fixing it.

  23. Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

    A country is simply judged on it’s appearance by very many people, including the thousands that come here on cruise ships daily. It is time that we took this issue seriously. The “technical issues” which is official speak for BREAKDOWNS are an annual event. Is it that we do not stock the necessary critical spares, do not have efficient purchasing / shipping options, or simply have blown the budget, and do not have the money, OR, we have not got the required mechanics / electricians to keep up with the service work load. None of this is rocket science, but straightforward MANAGEMENT!!!

    We look grubby in the mirror!

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s not forget lack of regular maintenance and unqualified heavy equipment drivers.

    • Anonymous says:

      The key is a proper preventive maintenance program. Once it is broke it is too late. You can never catch up.

  24. Prospect Resident says:

    Sorry, but, why isn’t management over at DEH being held accountable for this?

    What happen to the Director for the Department, Mr. Roydell Carter? Why is he so quiet on this topic?

    Garbage hasn’t been collected from my neighborhood since November 8th!

    • Anonymous says:

      Accountability??? Big Santa Belly Laugh….Ho Ho Ho…you haven’t been here long, have you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Trucks are the problem! The bad drivers ruin them and poor guys down there can’t fix um fast enough. Sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forget that it is the politicians that allocate money to the departments.
      When the department runs out if money,it is not the directors fault,but the politicians.

      • Daniel Thompson says:

        Politicians got plenty money, They going to spend over $300,000,000 for a fancy dock that we dont need. None left for new garbage trucks.

  25. Unison says:

    It is high time government start privatizing many of its services. Then it will be able to fund for more important things (matters of life) – like buying more dump trucks and improving the waste management system ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.