Let’s Talk Some Real Trash Talk In This Election

November 23, 2012

[Written by Jonathan Starling] It is not unusual to read and hear complaints about the amount of trash talk that the two main parties indulge, a phenomenon which seems to be magnified during election campaigns. And yet, seldom do these two parties actively seek to engage in real trash talk. And by that, I mean talking about trash in the literal sense! And yet the issue of trash and waste in general is one that affects us all, touching on matters of public health, social cohesion and tourism, amongst others!

And so, while I’m hoping to run a positive campaign, I am today going to engage in some real trash talk. And I hope that it helps encourage others to do the same!

Trash and how we deal with it have a number of hidden costs to our society. Once elected I will work with my fellow parliamentarians and civil society to develop and implement the following policies:

Implement a ‘bottle bill’ (beverage container deposit legislation) for glass and aluminium beverage containers.
Discarded glass and aluminium beverage containers constitute a public health threat through the breeding of mosquitoes, a risk of personal injury to the individual from sliced-up feet, a general unsightliness which may impact on our ‘Bermuda image’ for tourists, as well as often contributing to a blighted neighbourhood (encouraging more trash as well as a sense of social depression). They even pose a hazard for our endemic rock lizards (the skink)!

By implementing a beverage container deposit policy we may help reduce the above problems associated with discarded glass and aluminium containers by encouraging greater rates of recycling, making it less likely for individuals to simply ‘throw them in the bushes’. They work quite simply by requiring a small, refundable deposit on beverage containers. This deposit is paid when the container is purchased and refunded when the container is returned for recycling. Where bottle bills have been implemented they have been seen to greatly increase rates of recycling and reduce incidents of litter.

Implement a balloon bill to prohibit the sale of metallic (mylar) helium balloons and mass balloon releases.
While balloons seem relatively innocent to most individuals, the pose a deadly threat to many marine wildlife, especially whales and sea-turtles, and can also pose threats to overhead electricity lines. When balloons are released, they eventually return to earth, often (and almost always in Bermuda) into the oceans, where they are mistaken as food by whales and sea-turtles, contributing in many cases to deaths. Metallic balloons are particularly problematic for marine life, having a longer life-time than latex balloons, and mass balloon releases (for various ceremonies) is little different from dumping plastic bags into the oceans. If we want to promote a ‘green’ image and protect our marine environment, implementing a ‘ballloon bill’ is one step towards this.

Expand the fishing lines recycling initiative.
This is an initiative that has been pioneered by the Bermuda National Trust, with public financial assistance. It seeks to encourage the recycling of fishing lines at known fishing spots and public docks. Modern fishing lines, when discarded, pose a threat to marine life, particularly birds and sea-turtles, and may become entangled in them and become injured or drown. They also pose a threat to personal injury for humans who may also get caught up in these when wading or swimming. By expanding their locations and regularity of collection, we help the marine environment and benefit our tourism.

Convert to in-vessel composting at Pembroke Dump and develop a national composting strategy.
While Pembroke Dump has largely been replaced by the Tynes Bay Incinerator, it is still actively used for horticultural and other compostable waste. Waste is converted into compost there through an open air row and furrow system, which is unsightly, space and time-consuming and prone to both the release of odour and spontaneous combustion. By converting to the faster and less space-consuming in-vessel composting we reduce many of the social and public health impacts of the existing system, and lay the foundations for the restoration of the area into a public park.

And by encouraging domestic composting, through curb-side collection of non-animal food waste, we can contribute to reduced stress on the incinerator, as well as benefiting the island in the long-term through the production of local compost for agricultural use or for ecological restoration projects. It may involve a slight up-front cost to move to in-vessel composting, but the benefits to the surrounding neighbourhoods, the reduced costs of wear and tear for the incinerator, in my opinion far outweigh this cost!

Now, that’s real trash talk…

- Jonathan Starling will run as an Independent candidate in C#20 Pembroke South West in the upcoming General Election.

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Comments (48)

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  1. swing voter says:

    Starling you're a smart guy but you need to just join OBA, and stop tryna be pri-Madonna maverick

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    • M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

      He has already tried working with the OBA in '98 .

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      • J Starling says:

        With respect, I think you are referring to another individual. I have never worked with the OBA or the UBP (the OBA not formally existing in 1998).

        I do however have contacts with the OBA, as I do the PLP, and there are many ideas and people in both parties with whom I believe I can work with to bringing these - and other policies - to fruition.

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    • J says:

      I think you meant prima donna... lol, smh

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    • Just Us says:

      All this trash i.e. plastics, foam containers and other contents in boxes comes from the supermarkets, takeout restaurants and other retail stores. Find ways for these outlets to make alternative packaging from their suppliers to be biodegradable. or better still, have a buy back trash program for those who will comply with the recycling program and the government should do the same instead of burning the trash.
      Besides how is the government going to implement something it cannot see through? other than try and make a law for all supermarkets and other importers to import only clear trash can liners. That way the garbage collectors will refuse picking up mixed trash it can see... But now, what happens in the case of large dumpsters at condo complexes? How will you find violators who dump at night?

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  2. Kim Smith says:

    It would be good to get some independent thinkers into the political system in Bermuda.

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  3. Terry says:

    The PLP did not want him for his radical back to the 60's views.
    He is grasping at straws. It's all about him.
    Educated? Yes.
    Nothing more than a Marxist Lennonist.
    Screw Bermuda should be his theme.

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  4. mangrove tree says:

    Implement a ‘bottle bill’ (beverage container deposit legislation) for glass and aluminium beverage containers

    A good idea,also crack down on littering ,illegal dumping . Waive fees to dump at the airport and incinerator.

    Implement a balloon bill to prohibit the sale of metallic (mylar) helium balloons and mass balloon releases

    not going to be popular, but with enough education you might make progress.
    plastic bags , more than balloons, also end up in the water

    Expand the fishing lines recycling initiative

    get away from lead weights, recover lead already in the envirioment

    Convert to in-vessel composting at Pembroke Dump and develop a national composting strategy.

    if you are going to encourage home composting, you better get on the goverments case about rodent control.

    kind of to to go with composting, an island wide blitz or out right ban on invasive plants like mexican pepper, ect, and a push to plant endemic plant species.

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  5. Blurt says:

    He is making this up as he goes along....PLP trait...plan to plan , but then announce random last minute thoughts and pretend they have been thoroghly reseached, stakeholders have been consulted and that they are economically viable, when not.

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    • J Starling says:

      Hi Blurt, when I announced my candidacy last week I stressed that I'm releasing my platform gradually in order to encourage discussion of my positions.

      If you or others would like more information, or have any particular questions, please feel free to email me at votestarling@gmail.com

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      • Blurt says:

        What research backs this platorm, or is ot conceptual?

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        • J Starling says:

          I have replied to you on this, but as it included a lot of links there is a risk it's stuck in the filter. If it's not here by tomorrow I'll go and try to rewrite it for you.

          Essentially though, yes, it's backed up by research, it's not purely conceptual.

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        • J Starling says:

          Is there a particular part of the above positions that you would like me to expand on?

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          • Blurt says:

            Expand on the economics of Pembroke Marsh, sounds interesting.

            How big would the containment facility be?

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            • J Starling says:

              Converting to in-vessel composting is a first step towards the ecological restoration of the Pembroke Dump area and it's conversion to a public park.

              I do not have access to the exact dollar amounts, but this has been costed by the relevant Department, who has been requesting this in it's budgets since at least 2005 (and it was included in the 2009 Budget Speech, although nothing seems to have developed since - see page 16).

              It does involve an initial cost. I don't deny that. But it also leads to long-term savings and benefits. From a departmental budget perspective it saves on the wear and tear costs to the incinerator, as well as payments to residents affected by dump fires (cleaning of roofs, water rank cleanings, water replacements, cost of labour and resources needed for putting out said fires). It has an added social benefit in that it reduces the noxious odors that affect the neighbourhoods currently surrounding facility (these, like the fires, would be practically eliminated).

              And the increase in property values and general social benefits of being next to a developing park rather than an active eyesore, would also be beneficial (directly through property values, indirectly through other aspects of public health, social cohesion, etc.).

              The in-vessel composting requires a much smaller footprint than the existing row and furrows. The space required is such that the potential for relocating the facility to one of the former baselands is practical, thus completely freeing up Pembroke Dump - alternatively, it can stay there, but would require only a fraction of the current land-use. I don't have the exact footprint, but I understand that it would require at least merely one fifth of the current land-use of Pembroke Dump.

              It also converts waste to compose in 28-42 days compared to the existing system which requires up to six months. Please see the 2005 State of the Environment Report, page 177 (http://www.planning.gov.bm/documents/Natural%20Environment/State%20of%20the%20Enviroment.PDF).

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              • Blurt says:

                Facility build would not be cheap, requires strict management and contamiment protocols, like wheel washers, to prevent salmonella and other problems spread accross island. Cost of venting would not be cheap, and would usually be partially off set by selling Good compost. Although compost isnt really needed here, as things grow like crazy. I think much more research into it is required, before launching into a facililty that has an increased bacterial contaminent risk on a site near large populations. Morgans point is out, so it would have to to St Davids somewhere. There are nature reserves and risk of ocean contamination......it is a very interesting approach, but in a time when the economy is in dire straits, it would have to go on the back burner. Not a priority. Thanks for bringing it up, some interesting reading accross the internet, definatey would stick it on the notice board for further investigation.

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  6. bermy drew says:

    When I was younger the Metro soda company did a bottle deposit refund. You would get 10 cents for every bottle. That was how I used to get my spending money plus it did seem to keep our parks and road side trees of less debris.

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  7. Um Um Like says:

    How about mandating sewage holding tanks for boats, unless of course guys like swimming in raw $h!t

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    • J Starling says:

      I agree, and it is actually on my platform - well, at least that all craft with toilet facilities to empty their tanks at the marinas where there are connections either to the St. Georges, Hamilton or Dockyard sewage systems.

      This is primarily an issue for inshore waters, namely the Great Sound, where the flushing action of the ocean is reduced. I am preparing a similar piece as the one above concerning this and related issues concerning water policies, and hope to have it ready shortly.

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      • Terry says:

        By the time you flush................"I am preparing"
        Where the hell is Hillary.
        Better shut up now before I have to .......well yah want Jihad or empty coffers.

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    • Small fry says:

      The amount of 'effluent' discharged by pleasure boats in Bermuda is so beyond minimal it doesn't even make sense worrying about it.
      What about the pipeline that dumps into the ocean a few hundred yards offshore from Seabright in Paget that is connected to the City of Hamilton AND KEMH ? huh ?

      And just where do you think every living thing in the ocean (plus a billion birds) also take a dump ? Do you think they come ashore and use a household septic system/toilet to relieve themselves ?

      Furthermore a boat with an overboard discharge head (toilet) is the same as a boat with no toilet at all . Think about that !

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      • J Starling says:

        Part of my platform includes a call for greater sewage treatment for Bermuda, at least for the main sewage outfalls (Seabright off Hungry Bay - which is for the City of Hamilton+Hospital, St. Georges and Dockyard), but in general the sewage outfalls are situated in a way so that the flushing action of the ocean is sufficient to not create sufficiently worrying problems (unless you're swimming nearby and think about it...).

        It is in enclosed bays and shallow water, primarily St. George's harbour, the Great Sound and Harrington Sound, that the potential for natural flushing and dilution is greatly reduced and problems can arise. This is particularly a problem when a lot of boats are moored together (think the non-mariners race or similar raft-ups).

        There are regulations in other places in similar situations requiring all boats with a sewage holding facility (an on-board toilet) to not dispose of their sewage unless out in the open sea (a certain distance off-shore) or when they are docked at marinas which have the facilities to accomodate their sewage (as is the case in at least Dockyard and Hamilton). This should be implemented here.

        Public health risks from sewage contaminated waters in our enclosed waters may include ear and throat infections, infectious gastroenteritis or hepatatitis (mostly through consumption of fish from these waters), arising from contamination from human sewage, not general animal waste (although we can, of course, be affected by these, see avian flu, but most of the problems are related to human sewage contamination).

        While the risk in Bermuda may be minimal (except in situations like the non-mariner race, for example), there is not reason why we cannot be pro-active. It's good for public health, good for the Bermuda image and good for the environment too!

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  8. Terry says:

    Garbage.
    All Comrade Starling is doing is re-introducing things of the 60's.
    We all saved our soda bottles et al and got a few shillings for returns.
    Garbage.

    A vote for Starling is a vote back to PLP.

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  9. Enough says:

    How about we start with the basics and have our trash collected on the day it is meant to be, or during normal working hours!

    Paying double time to the trash men to collect trash from 5pm-8pm is the whole problem with overspending with this Government, they just seem to pay and do nothing to change it. If they can collect all the trash in that time then they can do it during normal working hours.

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  10. Y-Gurl says:

    Once again let's put the tax on the customer to make up for an already overpriced and under efficient recycle facility, why the hell should I pay a tax for a bottle that the recycle facility can't recycle except throwing some into asphalt, similarly why should I pay a tax on a can when I already pay taxes to keep this stupid recycle centre open and running about one day a week and do you really think the drunk guy in the car gives a $h! T about the tax on his beer bottle as he launches it out the window knowing that someone else will clean up his trash, he gets rid of it because there still remains a 00.01% chance the a$$ might get stopped by a cop. We (taxpayer) already pays a to of money to support the W&E trash service and the many private companies that pick up the "recycled" products, how about we simply pay works and engineering on productivity, we could also pay on tons of material recycled, clearly that bill would go down but it puts the responsibility back on those who are being paid a lot of money to do a job. Take a trip to that plant any day of the week except maybe Friday morning and see the equipment sitting silent.

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    • Terry says:

      Government get paid to clean up trash.
      Next.

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      • nuff, nuff, dun says:

        I guess it was your generation that made such a great job of the planet eh Terry? I've no idea how old you are Terry, but you sound like my grandfather, I thought we had moved on, and you accuse JS of being in the 60s! Look, is recycling fishing lines as important as this holy mess of an economy? - no, but a parliament is supposed to be a melting pot of ideas to debate, and whilst you don't want a green party running the country an influence is not a bad thing at all.

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    • CHEEKUMS BIE says:

      y gurl you make no sense whatsoever.. all you do is babble on abount pointless nothingness

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      • Come Correct says:

        Dont point fingers if your hands arent clean.

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      • Y-Gurl says:

        Screw you, don't read it clown

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      • Y-Gurl says:

        I guess i wont make sense unless you have a basic understanding of how stuff works. Any tax is something, why don't you comment on the story instead of other people's opinions, I'm sure you can understand some of it, either you don't pay tax or wear a blue shirt at work and are perhaps under employed, in which case I can see the reason for your oblivious disregard to increasing of any taxes, we Need to get the overpriced systems to work properly and if your part of that system, so be it. If you don't like my honest comments simply don't read them, we have avatars (that's the little cartoon figure on the right of the comment) so you can spot who you don't want to read, the title " lets talk real trash " wasn't an invitation.

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        • Come Correct says:

          Burna! But sorry its difficult to spot the avatars when they constantly change...right Cheekums?

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          • Y-Gurl says:

            Sorry come correct its a tax, they tried this all over the planet but it doesn't work, and to further blurts point who is going to collect the bottles, will it be the one store central to everyone regardless of where we all bought the products, or do we collect them all in the car until next time we go past the store we bought them, most people wont do it ,what's needed is to get the most out of the infrastructure we have, lord knows we have thrown enough money at the problem. If W & E had to bid on the work they do they would never get a job..ever and if govt. is sending the aluminum away and getting paid for it then they definitely should be collecting it. And KBB should be paid for the trash they collect, if they are doing it, the people who are being paid to do clearly are not

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            • J Starling says:

              Hi Y-Gurl - No, it is not a tax. It is a refundable deposit. At the moment we have a de facto subsidisation of companies that distribute these bottles and cans, in that the resulting litter has real social and economic costs, and the cost of cleaning this up is paid for out of our taxes. Tax-payers, both litters and non-litters, bear the costs of this, directly and indirectly (in economics terms this amounts to a market externality).

              When we have a refundable deposit system the consumers pay the deposit, and it is refunded when it is returned. Through encouraging returns through the deposit system all tax-payers pay less money over time through savings from reduced litter clean-up costs (and associated indirect costs) and we can also reduce the frequency of curb-side pick-ups, leading to additional savings. We should still maintain curb-side pick-ups though, as the combined approach (pick-ups & deposits) lead to a more effective recycling approach.

              Bottle-bills have worked in every jurisdiction they have been implemented, with increased rates of recycling being recorded as well as reduction of litter (in some places by up to 70%).

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          • Y-Gurl says:

            Come correct, This Is a reply to JS i hit the wrong reply, that's what happens when you blog b4 coffee,

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        • J Starling says:

          Hi Y-Gurl - I think you may have misunderstood my position. I am not calling for a tax on glass and aluminium beverage containers, I am calling for a deposit.

          You pay the small deposit (added into the price of the beverage at point of sale), and when you return the beverage container you get the deposit returned to you. It works as an incentive not to litter as well as to recycle it. If you personally choose not to return the container to claim back the deposit, then someone else can, be it KBB picking it off the ground or someone else.

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          • Blurt says:

            So each bottle selling establishment now has to have a holding facility for waste bottles. That will be many containers. How much will it cost to collect the glass. How do you prove you bought the bottle at that retailer, wow I'm being overun by bottles and it is hitting my cashflow, and staff time. This is not one of the better ideas. People don't keep receipts for a bottle of wine they bought 3 months ago, of beers they have in the fridge.

            Balloons, we simply need to take care and be considerate to our environment and ensure balloons are disposed of correctly. Banning a society of balloons is certainly a backwards step.

            The waste at pembroke may be interesting.

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            • J Starling says:

              The exact mechanisms involved will have to be worked out through consultation, but I would envision having three collection centers (one in the east, one central and one in the west). There has been some talk of selling off some of the post-offices - I don't see any reason why some of these could not be converted into collection centers.

              Perhaps my use of the term 'point of sale' was misleading. I am envisioning Government working as a middle-man to facilitate this, handling the collection and the deposit system.

              You do not need to keep receipts of your bottle or can purchases, the bottle or can alone is sufficient. This may well be a loss-leader on paper, in that bottles and cans purchased before the legislation should still be covered - the emphasis here is on reducing overall litter.

              Government (Parks, Waste Management and MoHealth) currently spends millions every year dealing with litter. Studies in the 1990s (not aware of more recent data right now) found that beverage containers (glass and aluminium), that would be covered by my proposal, made up about 33% of all litter, and up to 50% of roadside litter. If this policy reduces that cost (as well as associated costs of public health, etc) then I think that 'loss' is worth it, in that the related benefits compensate for it.

              I am not banning society of balloons. I am calling for a banning of the metallic helium balloons which pose a significant environmental cost, as well as mass balloon releases. You can still have a balloon, just not the metallic ones, or release it into the air, which is littering.

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              • Blurt says:

                People will still litter. This will change nothing. Developing collection centre, which put a burden on the overburdened government is probably not a great idea. This would mean a population of 60,000 people drving once a week to a few drop off centres waiting to be refunded and queing up for a few dollars. It would be an absolute nighmare, and the polution and extra car wear and tear on already overburdened roads isn't a great idea. I like the fact that you are thinking about these things, as we should all do, but I don't see this one as adding anything but cost, inefficiency and pollution to our lives in its proposed format. Don't give up on thinking though, as I appreciate the thoughts.

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  11. Voter says:

    Good ideas. respect.

    Lets add mandatory kerbside recycling to reduce the amount of glass and metal going pointlessly into the incinerator, and used vehicle/appliance recycling to boost the existing efforts of the waste management section of W&E.

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    • Come Correct says:

      If we actually took our thumb out of our bum, we could make most of what you mention, besides glass, out of hemp which would actually be "green" for our environment...but hey, none of us will be around for the day when planet earth says f@ck you people and implodes on itself so why in the hell does it all matter?! Throw your garbage in the destination of your own choosing, you won't be around to see the ramifications of obliterating the very planet we live on. Yea we're just one small island but like I was saying in the DOT release, Bermuda ALWAYS follows, never leading,amd that's where we fail as a nation.

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      • Just Us says:

        @ Come Correct: You are so right... Bermuda can even export the hemp to other countries like we once did onions, lilies and bananas. But the educated won't stand for that cause its a no brainier...

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  12. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    and another evening of trash talking resulting in nothing but hot air...each and every one of his suggestions is not a govts. role ...its the peoples role ok ...pay people according to weight of recycling products collected by them and turned over to the plant...let someone have the wrote off vehicles before they go to airport dump to strip and sell spare parts that the conglomerates say cant be obtained...can someone explain to me why when i purchase a car with my money then have to pay 1st party insurance until its paid off then unfortunately it gets wrote off in an accident or natural disaster the insurance co then pays me the value of the car why cant i keep the car or give it away to someone that may be able to salvage something from it ...but the insurance co says no because the vehicle now belongs to them and they dispose of it in due course or however they see fit...this is wrong...biggest scam on earth is insurance...the only thing that should be take to the dump is damaged goods and chassis...there was a fellow who was doing this to survive in his own country but the govt demolished his business for some reason that im not really sure about ...anyway there is lots bermudians can do to make a dollar but once the greedy elitists see you getting your share of the pie they cry foul...

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    • Friendly Faces says:

      Without those dreaded insurance companies, we are living in stick houses my man. What else we got? A few oldies reliving their honeymoon at Fourways, and some carrots that taste like pi55.

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  13. The nitty gritty says:

    There was a time when people loved their Island enough to keep it clean. They would never think of throwing trash out of cars and dropping refuse along the street. Humans make the mess and we all debate ad infinite um
    the methods of clean up instead of the prevention.
    Seems like as long as the people living here under the grey skies of confusion keep feeling so rotten, they will keep polluting the visible scene.
    As to the effluent discharge into the ocean, although it is a more complicated situation, at least the ocean is massive and all around us to keep moving the coastal supply. Not perfect but less of an issue than land based garbage in paradise.

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