Government’s decision to establish a waste to energy plant is courting environmental danger.
Former Minister of Health Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott issued that warning today, as he also defended the Barbados Labour Party’s decision to operate a landfill at Greenland, St. Andrew and the money spent to build it.
Speaking in the Upper House on a resolution for land acquisition for the Mangrove Pond Landfill, he said there were dangers associated with waste to energy facilities and that Government needed to tell the public how they were going to deal with such issues.
He said at a time when related incineration was on the decline and the United States had not introduce a new garbage incinerator since 1996 the current administration needed to be cautious.
“I heard the minister’s speech making reference that there would be this waste-to-energy plant at Mangrove. You are going to have an incinerator (and) my question is where is the residue going to be taken? What are you going to do with the heavy metals? What are you going to do about the sulphur dioxide and the various dioxins, which we all know are carcinogenic?” he asked.
“How are you going to deal with those matters in a small country like ours? Across the world in developed countries there are major issues with incinerators, their management, their functioning and they have not dealt with it… I don’t believe a new incinerator has been commissioned in the United States for garbage incineration since 1996 and these are questions that we must ask.
“If incineration is the answer to deal with your garbage, to generate electricity, why all around the world we don’t have … tens of thousands of incinerators?”
As for Greenland, which the current Government said will put to uses other than a landfill, Walcott suggested there had been some misinformation about that venture, which was established when his BLP was in office.
“I have heard this morning for the first time that there was a crack in the liner at Greenland and that if garbage was taken there it was going to affect the ground water resources, although I have always thought that the issue at Greenland was surface water, and that leachate might find itself into the Atlantic Ocean,” he said.
“I do recall, however, that there was contention some years ago between the local geologists and a foreign geologist as to what were the pros and cons of Greenland and that we were told that if there were torrential rains or a hurricane that garbage would find itself across the whole of St. Andrew into the Atlantic Ocean and the beaches all around this island of Barbados.
“Indeed, Tomas has come and gone, we have had … floods, and I have not yet heard of this catastrophe in Greenland.
“I have heard figures from $30 million to $200 million. My information is that the initial cost of Greenland was $21 million, and additional retrofitting was $18 million, that gives you $40. But interms of $200 million that is politics, I am not going to get into that today,” he added. (SC)