PHILIPSBURG--The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI is prompting residents to prioritise cleaning up their surroundings during the last two weeks of the Hurricane Cleanup Campaign to ensure surroundings are free of any unwanted items, hazardous objects and any other waste that might pose a danger during a hurricane.
“Unkempt surroundings can pose a serious threat during hurricanes with strong winds and severe torrential rains. VROMI has experienced it all during the past, including obstruction of emergency vehicles needed to rescue residents, severe flooding due to blocked trenches, etc.,” said Public Works Department Head Claudius Buncamper.
“Residents have two more weeks to clean-up and dispose of any unwanted items and it is essential they prioritise this responsibility.”
The ministry has been implementing various hurricane preparedness practices, including the recent construction of the floodgates, cleaning of primary trenches, preparation of the Great Bay channel and storing of backup diesel for the pump houses, among other responsibilities.
“Despite our ministry responsibilities, the island as a community must take initiative in securing their surroundings from danger. Branches of trees, zinc and other items that can fly into the sky can cause severe damage to structures and, worse yet, human beings and livestock. If the necessary precautions are not taken by all stakeholders, our hurricane preparedness executions will have been in vain,” said Contract Manager Eustaquio Richardson.
Loose items and other debris from private properties can block trenches, resulting in quicker flooding, damage to homes, blocked roads, and other events that make it difficult for response personnel to assist the public or assess affected areas.
The Hurricane Cleanup Campaign schedule runs until August 3 and is published weekly in the newspapers, on the Government website
sintmaartengov.org and on VROMI’s Facebook page.
The cleanup ends August 2 for the Cul de Sac Basin, led by Meadowland (542-8862). Upcoming cleanup dates are: St. Peters and Retreat Estate – July 20-21; Zagersgut, Bush Road and Dutch Cul de Sac – July 25-26; Cay Hill – August 1; Welgelegen Road and Belair – August 2.
The cleanup ends August 3 for Lower Princes Quarter, led by All Waste in Place (543-0551). Upcoming cleanup dates are: Belvedere – July 20; Sucker Garden and Arch Road July 25-27; Defiance and Oyster Pond – August 1-3.
The cleanup ends July 20 for the Great Bay area, led by Clean St. Maarten (543-0155). Upcoming cleanup dates are: Residential Pondfill, A.Th. Illidge Road, Long Wall Road and Fort Willem – July 20.
Through the cleanup, residents are able to dispose of any unwanted garbage, including loose household appliances, old furniture, pieces of wood, tree branches from pruning, zinc, or any pieces of garbage that can become airborne during a hurricane.
Garbage should be placed in heavy-duty bags or boxes in managed piles or groups and can be placed outside of household walls, fences and in the additional larger garbage bins that are placed strategically in every district by each hauler to ensure intake of the increase in disposed waste during the campaign period.
However, residents should refrain from disposing of garbage around utility outlets such as water meters or pipes, and disposing of garbage in isolated piles of individual items that can be blown away.
If garbage should go unnoticed, residents can contact their community councils or assigned district hauler to collect the waste.
Each district/area community council is in contact with its district hauler and is currently taking inventory of residents who do not have personal garbage bins. Residents who wish to submit a request for a personal garbage bin should communicate such as soon as possible for timely preparedness.