View Full Version : Bad old days

04-01-2012, 12:55 PM
I found this recently added panoramic photo taken at the Punt Wekua lighthouse at http://www.bonairepanoramas.com/panorama.html?id=punt-wekua. The site is on the shore road north of the BOPEC terminal.

Discussing this with a good friend who is a full time Bonaire resident, he asked me to guess what the concrete pad in the photo is/was for. He gave me one hint...saying it had not been used for the past 25 years.

Anyone want to guess?


04-01-2012, 01:01 PM
I would take a pretty certain guess that it is where all the rubbish was tipped!! :confused: :hummm:

04-01-2012, 01:27 PM
You're right, ModRoy. I wish I could say it was an April Fools joke, but no. My friend told me there are actually two of these pads along that road. He said that Lenny regurgitated a bunch of stuff, especially tires. It's clearly outrageous and it puts some of the discussions in this thread into perspective.

04-18-2012, 04:30 PM
Looks like plenty of fresh tire tracks on the turn off road and possibly fresh oil stains on the concrete pad.
How confident are we that the "bad old days" of dumping are behind us?

04-18-2012, 06:28 PM
We stopped at both sites and took a look around about 4 months ago. There were old tires, pallets, and pieces of colored cloth strewn caught on the few rocks protruding above the water below. All the trash was obviously much newer than 25 years old. It's was hard to determine the frequency and volume of use, but we could see why somebody selected that spot to dump trash. The combination of current and pounding surf made almost everything magically disappear. Poof!


04-19-2012, 09:12 AM
The picture is dated february 2010 - is that correct?

How does it look today?

04-19-2012, 09:15 AM
Okay, I should read the thread better, wwguy already checked it out...

04-19-2012, 09:34 AM
I'd like to insert some perspective here before anyone gets all upset about illegal dumping.............and I was just at this exact spot on Sunday, so I have recent experience.

Yes, it was used in the past as a place to dump trash, along with one other location in the area. That is why there are "trash launches" (sort of like a shortened boat launch platform) constructed there. These were used at a time before Bonaire had its own waste management facility or the landfill, and so boats would back up to the launches, and trash would be dumped into them from the shoreline so that it could be removed from the island. It was NOT to throw trash into the water.

I can say I saw absolutely no sign of trash when I was there on Sunday. Also, the Wecua beacon light is in that area and is being renovated so there's more traffic than normal.

Also, Lenny regurgitated many things all over the island, as did Omar and a few other storms since. Lenny was in 1999. If you're seeing tires now, it's not from Lenny. I'm not saying that illegal dumping doesn't occur, because it does. But most of it is in the mondi areas and Selibon is trying to address it.

Anyway, just my two cents.

04-19-2012, 10:30 AM
In my recollection that place looks just about like it did on my last visit, 3 years ago as it did on my first visits to Bonaire in 1980-81. As Susan said looking down into the water I could never see any signs of trash. I have never been in the water there however.

04-19-2012, 11:09 AM
What I saw wasn't necessarily indicative of large-scale or frequent dumping. Just that someone had thrown some stuff over the edge fairly recently. What I saw was fresh, especially the brightly colored clothing stuck to rocks being pounded by surf & surge. There's no way it would survive long there without being torn to shreds or bleaching due to sun exposure etc. Susan's post above indicates that whatever was dumped there is already washed away. I'm happy to learn that it hasn't been replaced with new trash.

I live in the western US in an area with lots of remote but accessible country. From time to time there's always some idiot who is too cheap or lazy to dispose of his trash the right way. So he dumps it in a remote location when nobody is around to see it. This is the same type of person that tosses empty fast-food wrappers, empty beverage containers, and cigarette butts out of his car window as he's driving down the road. These people seem to be sprinkled throughout society everywhere we go.

To Susan's point above, this is a remote location on a dead-end road frequented by tourists and locals alike. It's a long way to drive to find a convenient place for regular illegal dumping, and odds are that someone would eventually catch them at it if it was a regular occurrence. Sean Paton would be on them like McGruff The Crime Dog!

04-19-2012, 11:50 AM
wwguy--couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks!

04-19-2012, 12:11 PM
Excellent points all, I saw Sean Paton at Eden Beach a couple of weeks back and made a point of introducing myself and saying his work is appreciated.

04-19-2012, 05:11 PM
I could certainly be wrong but, from my recollections of the "dump sites" in question, I seriously doubt that any ships ever docked there so the trash dumped on board and taken off the island. It would certainly be nice to hear from someone that was actually there when those sites were in regular use.

04-20-2012, 06:38 AM
I'm the OP on this one. I asked my long-time-resident friend if he had actually seen the dumping of trash. Here's what he said....

This was happening long before our time on the island. But trash was definitely dumped at Wecua.

Lenny regurgitated a lot of garbage along the gravel beach near the Wecua navigation light: most conspicuously tires, but clothes, broken toys, everything you'd see at a land fill. Presumably some of the stuff can still be seen, both ashore and in the water if anyone wants to dive the site.

A couple of years ago George at The Reporter made a press visit to a research vessel at the dock. The officers asked him about the mysterious "huge pile of stuff" their sonar picked up on an otherwise flat bottom as they passed Point Wecua.

Questions: do any of these speculations include hypotheses about where exactly the (presumably) safe landfill was located? And, having explained how the garbage got into the boats, do they propose how it was unloaded and transported at its destination? And where did the money come from to pay for this very expensive procedure?

Incidentally, when we were living in the [Bonaire] anchorage divers used to report a growing pile of oil filters on the bottom next to the North Pier. A long time practice on the island was to drive down to the pier, change the car's oil and filter, then throw everything in the water.

04-21-2012, 07:10 PM
I came across this reference to dumping trash into the sea from the concrete pads along the shore road north of BOPEC. Brad Swanson of Trans World Radio reported on his blog in 2008 (http://bradtwr.blogspot.com/2008_06_01_archive.html) that beach glass was plentiful at "Glass Beach" between the pads. Scroll down about 1/3 of the way to find the Beach Glass article with several photos of polished glass he collected from that spot.

04-24-2012, 08:48 PM
Not to beat this beyond what it's worth but in my continuing search for someone who was here when trash was (or wasn't) dumped from the pad at Punt Wekua, I emailed Boi Antoin, the editor of the Extra, one of the main Papiamentu language newspapers on Bonaire. He confirmed the "disposal of trash into the sea." I have to believe that many not so good things happened in the past.