EDITORIAL — Good riddance to derelict vehicles

Since the beginning of this year, 184 derelict vehicles have been deposited at the George Town Landfill, according to the Department of Environmental Health. Ninety-three of those were disposed of thanks to a DEH initiative to rid Grand Cayman of the hulking heaps.

In recent weeks, the DEH has not only deployed its own fleet of grab trucks but also has enlisted the help of a private company to help get a leg up on the problem. We say it is effort well spent.

It was just a year ago when it seemed wherever one looked, one was likely to find the carcasses of cars, vans, trucks and other former forms of transportation scattered throughout our beautiful island. Abandoned in vacant lots and along roadsides, sometimes dangerously close to busy lanes of traffic, these ramshackle remnants would languish for days or even weeks.

The blight was more than unsightly, it was a real public nuisance – attracting animals, insects and other debris, enticing thieves who would strip the broken-down wrecks of saleable parts, or vandals intent on smashing glass and generally raising Cain. More than a few junkers were left so close to roadways, they threatened the safe flow of traffic. In short, it was a terrible mess.

It was not the first time our little island had suffered from a growing accumulation of abandoned vehicles – which has been an intermittent problem at least as long as the Compass has been publishing. But it only added to the confusion when the DEH began limiting their acceptance of cars and scrap metal at the landfill, due to space and safety concerns.

Now those concerns have apparently been addressed, and owners are once again encouraged to dispose of old vehicles there. They can drop derelict vehicles at any landfill without paying a fee for disposal. Alternately, they can ask the DEH to retrieve the vehicle from private property for $75.

It is good to see DEH aggressively attacking our islands’ plague of derelict cars. In a statement, DEH Acting Director Richard Simms said it is his department’s intent to keep aggressively tackling the problem. We encourage them to keep up the pace.

But at the end of the day, as this board has written, it is owners’ responsibility to properly dispose of derelict vehicles and to do so immediately – not the next week or even a few days after the vehicle breaks down. Abandoning old cars and trucks is a violation of the Cayman Islands Litter Law, punishable by up to a $500 fine or six months’ imprisonment.

We encourage readers to report any vehicle that seems unlicensed or abandoned to the DEH for removal. They can do so by calling DEH at 949-6696 or emailing [email protected]

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