Government is moving swiftly against a new multi-million dollar recycling project said to be operating illegally at Lower Estate, St Michael, with Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins now warning that the plant poses a threat to the island’s drinking water supply.
Cummins told Barbados TODAY the operation was established in a restricted area, forcing his department to take action.
He said he has called on the combined forces of two other Government departments to move urgently on the operators of the project who are using the Lears Quarry to dispose of, and recycle solid waste without permission from Town Planning.
“We have to move quickly because it [the dumping] is posing a threat to our water supply. We are working in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and the Barbados Water Authority,” the Chief Town Planner disclosed.
Cummins did not provide details of the specific action contemplated, but it was clear he was moving against the man behind the project, Anderson “Fat Child” Cherry of Jose Y Jose Liquid and Solid Waste Management Incorporated.
“We have certain instruments we have to serve [on the owners of the project],” Cummins said, before re-emphasizing his statement made to Barbados TODAY last week that the operation already underway at Lears Quarry had not been given Town Planning permission.
Last week Monday when a team from Barbados TODAY visited the site where the waste is being disposed, Cherry revealed that the project was underway and the garbage, which could be seen there, had been collected by his company from around the island.
Cherry said the quarry, which had been the site of illegal dumping, would be cleaned up and the waste, which he had already begun to dump there, would be separated and treated, and some of the processed waste would be exported. He also denied he was dumping illegally.
“I acquired this quarry where people were dumping illegally, to clean it up and separate the garbage,” he said, pointing to a clump of tree branches in one area and construction material in another. “We are not dumping illegally. We are disposing of garbage in a proper way,” he insisted.
He also said a proposal had been sent to Government outlining what the project would entail. Today when this newspaper contacted Cherry for an update in light of the Town Planning Department’s insistence that no permission had been granted, he declined comment and referred us to his public relations officer Deanzer Roberts.
“The project is going along. We’re into phase two. We already have people in the field who are trying to get the signs up and how people donate. We continue to do our PR and stuff of that nature in terms of our radio programmes,” Roberts told Barbados TODAY when reached.
“We are picking up steam,” she added. “He would have hired persons, but right now we are picking up steam, we are trying to see how much we can go out there. We had one or two companies which are actually already onboard. Things are picking up gradually.”
Roberts also advised that since Barbados TODAY published the story last week, an application had been submitted to the Town Planning Department.
“All I could say to you, the document has been sent in, the proposal has been sent in . . . an application has been sent in to Town and Country Planning; that is what I can be quoted as saying. I know it was sent in this week to Town and Country Planning. I can’t say if it was hand-delivered or not, but I know it was sent in to Town and Country Planning, that much I know,” she stated.
Cherry announced on September 2 that he would establish a more than $60 million recycling project which he anticipated would lead to zero waste going to the landfill by 2020. He revealed at the time that more than $2 million had been spent to purchase five vehicles and equipment for the first phase of the three-part project, with the second phase expected to cost $9 million and $50 million for the third phase.
He promised then that the first two phases would create employment for about 75 people and a total of 115 jobs would be created when the company became fully operational.