St. George’s, Grenada, 4 July 2012: Officials of the Ministry of the Environment, Foreign Trade and Export Development will meet with dealers and exporters involved in the scrap metal trade in the coming days to address some concerns that have surfaced as a result of the trade.
A similar meeting was held recently with some stakeholders including representatives from Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA) and Customs and Excise Department.
The Ministry has noted the increase in the export of scrap metal to neighbouring countries in recent times and applauds the entrepreneurial spirit of those involved. The scrap metal trade can also be considered as an effort to “clean up” the environment of unwanted and bulky metallic materials that have contributed to an unpleasant environment.
However, it has been brought to the Ministry’s attention that the high demand for certain metals such as copper for export, is the main reason behind the vandalism and unauthorised removal of public and private property.
Reports are that copper cables from homes, businesses and utility companies; road signs, manhole covers and other road safety equipment have been increasingly vandalized and stripped of metal for this purpose. It is also alleged that the vandalism and theft of church bells and crucifixes (crosses); copper pots and cannons from cultural heritage sites are linked to the scrap metal trade.
This practice is not only illegal but also threatens personal and public safety and the unique cultural heritage of Grenada.
In the meantime, the ministry is encouraging the public to be vigilant and to report to the Royal Grenada Police Force, any suspicious activities involving the unauthorized removal and stripping of metal from public and private property.
Additionally, there are concerns about the degradation of materials left behind in the areas where the metal are dismantled and processed prior to packaging for shipment. These materials can easily be transferred into the rivers, streams and other waterways which will ultimately affect human health, the fishing stock and other life in the ecosystem.