I try to play by the rules when it comes to disposing of broken appliances. So, when I was told by the repair shop that it was not feasible to repair my 15-year-old television set due to unavailability of parts, I tried to do the right thing.
First, I called the Department of Public Works and asked for the open hours for the Anguilla landfill. I already knew that it was illegal to put appliances in the public bins at Peter's Rest. I was given the telephone number of the landfill to call for the information I needed. The person who answered at the landfill said that they couldn't accept that kind of trash at the landfill.
Next, I called John Green, the senior coordinator for solid waste at DPW, and explained my predicament. He said he would talk to the people at the landfill and call me back. He soon phoned back that it was okay to take the TV to the landfill.
A few days later, I called the main office of DPW again and asked for the hours that the landfill would be open on Friday. I was told the hours were 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
I drove to the landfill on Friday with my TV, just after 4 p.m.. I took the beautifully paved road that has been turned into a raceway and is now called the St. Croix Motorsports Complex — the same road that I have been taking to the landfill for the last 30 years. There was a gate at the entrance to the road, but it was wide open, so I drove on in, and in through the open landfill gate near the old abattoir. I got out and spoke with an employee from Fergutrax, the company that is operating the equipment that compacts the trash and covers it with soil, who pointed toward a heap behind the scalehouse where I could put my dead TV.
As soon as I got back in my car to drive my dearly departed TV to its final resting place, I was confronted by two Garbage Policewomen who said I couldn't bring my TV in there because the landfill was closed for the day. They indicated that the people at the main office at DPW didn't know what they were talking about when they told me what the open hours for the dump were, and that the hours were clearly posted on the sign on the entry road. I said I didn't see any such sign, and then it became obvious that they were talking about a different road than I was.
When I could see that they were not going to budge from the stand they had taken from behind their badges, I explained that I needed the room in my car in order to seat my friends that I was about to pick up at the nearby airport.
The two officers relented at last and allowed me to deposit my TV on the pile. On the way home, I stopped to see the signs on the "new" road to the landfill. The sign on the East Airport Road — the one that motorists who might want to take dead appliances to the landfill would see — clearly states that the hours for the landfill are 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., every day of the week. After turning off the East Airport Road onto the new landfill road, I saw another sign, giving the hours as 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
It sure would be nice if the signs and the people who answer questions at the main office all agreed on the operating hours.
I have a suggestion: Wouldn't it make sense if a sign was posted at each trash bin location giving the correct hours of operation of the landfill and listing the materials that can't legally be put in the bins but must be taken to the landfill instead? The same sign should list the materials that can't be disposed of at the landfill, and a telephone number to call about what to do with them.
After my experience with my TV, I can begin to understand why there are so many discarded appliances along the back roads of St. Croix.
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