POND ISLAND–On Thursday, St. Maarten Nature Foundation received numerous notifications regarding an incident involving a septic truck dumping raw sewage directly onto the Philipsburg landfill.
According to Nature Foundation, a video recorded of the event shows that sewage was being illegally dumped and that the septic truck in question was doing so despite objections from witnesses.
The licence plate and business to which the septic truck belongs are clearly visible in the video, which was posted online, Nature Foundation said.
“It is very clear what is happening on the video. This is a clear example of rules not being followed at the Philipsburg landfill, despite mention being made of increased security at the site. We are also very concerned by comments apparently coming from managers at the landfill stating that this is allowed and happens on a regular basis, which is most definitely not the case. There are various ordinances and pieces of legislation which speak directly to waste management, in particular the disposing of sewage,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
“We all know that the Philipsburg landfill is plagued by various issues, one of them is the constant leaking or draining of fluid from the landfill into the Great Salt Pond, which is a problem in and of itself. However, this issue of dumping raw sewage is made much worse by the heavy rainfall experienced on Thursday and the subsequent opening of the floodgates to lower the levels in the Pond. This means that raw sewage has now directly entered into Great Bay, Great Bay Beach and surrounding areas during a time when two cruise ships are in port. This highlights the statements that we have made over and over again that these types of environmental issues affect our ecosystem, the health of the population and our fragile tourism-based economy,” Bervoets said.
The Nature Foundation has sent official letters of protest to the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment VROMI, the Ministry of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labour VSA and the Prosecutor’s Office regarding the incident and plans to follow-up accordingly.