A Government legislator wants to place waste to energy back on the table as a priority for national discussion, just over a year after one such project collapsed spectacularly in the wake of public opposition.
Issuing the call on Wednesday during debate in the Senate on the Offshore Petroleum (Amendment) Bill 2017, Senator Andre Worrell said it was critical that the issue be put on the front burner given that Barbados continued to grapple with the issue of garbage disposal.
Worrell said while the country had done well in the area of recycling, especially of bottles, it was time Barbados took it a step further in tackling other forms of solid waste.
“We need to bring it back on to the table, the conversation about how do we go further in terms of using our garbage to develop energy to power the country. We need to put that conversation back on the table again,” Worrell insisted.
“Years ago we were discussing in terms of a plant for waste to energy conversion. I still think that issue is still critical to Barbados and we need to also continue the conversation on that: what is the best way for us to get into it. We are talking about protecting our environment and we cannot continue to be dumping garbage in St Thomas. Obviously there is a limit to what that facility can take and we recognize that we cannot dump anything at Greenland landfill so we need to bring that into this conversation,” he explained.
Over the last couple of years there had been strong opposition to a proposed $700 million Cahill waste to energy project, for which an agreement had been reached between Government and the Canadian firm back in March 2014 for the construction of the plasma gasification plant here.
In May last year Government gave in to public pressure with Minister of Environment Dr Denis Lowe reporting that the Freundel Stuart administration had dumped that project.
However, last October Lowe gave the assurance that a waste to energy plant was still an idea that should be pursued.
In fact, while piloting a resolution on the Barbados Green Economy Scoping Study in Parliament then, Lowe warned that Barbados “cannot fully develop without the inclusion of waste to energy technology”.