Barbados is fast running out of landfill space and the increasing amount of waste being taken to the lone such facility at Mangrove Pond in St. Thomas is also a mounting problem.
Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, outlined the challenge today and said Government was taking a number of measures to alleviate the need for further landfills.
She was leading off debate in the Upper House on a resolution for the acquisition land at Vaucluse, St. Thomas to extend the landfill’s life for another nine years.
“I am told that the Mangrove Pond Landfill now receives about 1,000 tonnes of garbage every day. So you see why there is a need to expand this landfill because at 1,000 tonnes a day it actually is getting full pretty quickly,” she said.
“In fact, a history of that area at Mangrove Pond landfill … would have revealed that every time they did one phase of the landfill and they projected it would last a certain time they realised very soon that it was going to be filled.
“We have gone from 400 tonnes of garbage back in 2003 to now 1,000 tonnes of garbage, so you see that we are producing garbage at a phenomenal rate,” the official added, as she urged Barbadians to take personal responsibility for their own garbage, including recycling.
Byer-Suckoo said the expansion of Mangrove had been carefully throughout through, was necessary and was being done with the required approvals.
“This matter has been before the Government, and in particular the Ministry of Housing, for some time and it really is quite important to the management of our solid waste here in Barbados. The landfill, at the time that this matter was put before the Cabinet, we were told that the life of the landfill then was nine months and the reason for acquiring that land would be to extend the life of the landfill by another 9.2 years,” she stated.
“It has now been confirmed that this land is the property of Eastern Land Development Limited and is valued at $523,000… You don’t just go anywhere and chose a location for the development of a landfill… We are here now at St. Thomas and while there is a lot of sentiment about expanding a landfill at St. Thomas we are advised by the chief town planner that it is in keeping with the Physical Development Plan, which was approved in 2003, for the disposal of waste.
“And we can’t continue putting landfills any and everywhere for obvious reasons and this is why too it is important that the general public knows what goes into the preparing of a landfill. It is lined so as to prevent the leachate leaking out, but it’s a lot more involved than that and a lot more technical,” she noted.
Byer-Suckoo also pointed out that beyond a mere landfill expansion at Vaucluse, Government’s plans for the area were “a lot more involved”.
This included “using our facility there to do more useful things with our garbage, to see that we don’t just pile up land and landfills year upon year … and then have to expand and so on”, she said. (SC)