Litter Law charges considered in mangrove concrete dumping

Workers returned to the Red Bay mangrove Tuesday morning to remove the dumped concrete. - Photo: Submitted

National Concrete has been warned by the Department of Environmental Health that it may face prosecution under the Litter Law, after a company truck was photographed Monday discharging excess concrete into a Red Bay mangrove.

DEH Director Richard Simms said his department submitted a file on the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the Department of Environment decided not to recommend prosecution against National Concrete under the National Conservation Law’s mangrove plan, which prohibits damaging or destroying mangrove habitat without prior authorisation.

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said it would not be fair at this time to recommend prosecution against the offending party because the mangrove conservation plan came into effect during COVID-19 lockdown.

“We intend to reach out to the cement company and alert them to the fact that this practice, which has unfortunately become commonplace now, is illegal,” Ebanks-Petrie said Monday.

She added, “It is very difficult to prosecute when they are not aware they are committing an offence… We don’t have the right set of circumstances to put forward a case for prosecution at this time.”

Ebanks-Petrie said the department would engage in outreach to inform concrete companies of their new obligations under the law and that cleaning excess concrete from their trucks into the mangroves would no longer be permitted.

A National Concrete truck is seen parked by the mangrove swamp off of Prospect Point Road. – Photos: Submitted

National Concrete general manager Richard Tresidder said the dumping incident went against all standard operating procedures and best practices established by the company.

He said National Concrete workers had visited the site three times for remediation and clean-up. Workers were at the site Tuesday morning removing the concrete.

The company had also been in contact with environmental officers, Tressider said, to guide the remediation effort.

A Prospect Point Road resident witnessed the cement dumping as it occurred Monday and said it had happened in full daylight, around 5pm, in view of walkers and joggers.

“It wasn’t even discreet,” said the resident, Stanley Walton.

He said excess concrete had been cleaned from the truck’s discharge chute into the swamp.

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