Mellisa SookooStudent, Hugh Wooding Law School
This article looks at the laws in place to control pollution caused by littering in T&T.
The Environmental Management Act Chap 35:05 (EMA) aims to protect the environment and regulate its use, conservation and management. The focus of this law is to safeguard the well-being of natural resources for future generations.
Section 2 of the EMA Act defines pollution as any disturbance in the conditions of the natural environment likely to be harmful to humans and the environment.
These disturbances can be caused by:
�2 The release of any type of substances
�2 Disturbances in the form of offensive odours, noise, energy, radiation and vibration.
It includes any disturbances likely to affect the environment at large. One of the major forms of pollution is littering.
Section 2 of the Litter Act Chap 30:05 (the Act) defines litter as any type of material, either solid or liquid not only found in bottles, cans, packaging, foods, animals and human waste, but also materials which the Minister of Health may specify as being harmful. Littering is broken down into the littering of public and private places.
Section 3 of the Act relates to littering in public places. A person guilty of an offence is liable to a fine of $4,000 or imprisonment for six months, whereas a business or corporation is liable to a fine of $8,000.
Under section 4 of the Act a person who litters on another's premises without permission is liable to a fine of f$4,000 or imprisonment for six months.
Where a person is convicted a second time he or she is liable to a doubling of the maximum fine imposed for that offence. A daily penalty may be imposed for a continuing offence: sections 5A and 13.
Property owners also have a duty to ensure that their premises are free from dust and refuse likely to cause a nuisance or be harmful to person's health: section 67 of the Public Health Ordinance Chap 12 No 4 (1950) (the Ordinance).
Section 6 of the Act authorises the Local Authority to take action by requiring persons responsible to remove the litter and restore the environment to its normal conditions.
Along with this, section 68 of the Ordinance provides for a fine to be levied against persons for offensive materials thrown on public streets or places.
Further, where businesses improperly dispose of materials, the EMA and local authority can step in to prevent harm to the environment by mandating compliance.
Littering is an offence in T&T. As a form of pollution, it hampers the health and safety of the environment. Littering can affect marine life, facilitate the improper and unsafe disposal of materials, and even cause blockages of rivers and drains leading to the spread of diseases, flooding and other hazards.
Be responsible. Obey the litter laws.
This column is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should consult an attorney-at-law.