It looks as though residents of Lower Estate and surrounding St George communities will have to endure the stench coming from a nearby dump for much longer than they anticipated.
During a town hall on October 13, the residents, who have been threatening legal action, were promised that the offensive odour would be gone within two weeks.
However, the owner of the dump and Chief Executive Officer of Project Recycle, Anderson Fat Child Cherry, reported to Barbados TODAY this morning that the problem was taking longer to fix than either he or the company had originally calculated.
“We had a problem and to the best of my knowledge, there are some residents that are still complaining, but we are working on it.
“I assure the people of Barbados that Project Recycle will continue to focus on waste diversion from the landfill and we, honestly, over the next couple of months, we will step up our game in terms of waste diversion,” Cherry said.
In response to bitter complaints from residents that the “toxic” fumes emanating from the quarry posed a serious threat to their health, Cherry, who also the head of Jose y Jose Liquid & Solid Waste Management Inc., had also promised to remove all of the green waste and construction waste from the quarry within six months.
However, during a tour of the facility this morning, he acknowledged the equipment required for him to set up a shredding/grinding plant at Vaucluse, St Thomas to handle the transferred waste, was yet to arrive on island.
Worse yet, Cherry said he was still awaiting Town & Country Planning approval to be able to establish the plant at Vaucluse; therefore he could not say for certain when he would be in a position to permanently close the landfill.
“The complete closure in terms of the waste that has to be extracted, [would be] within six months or so,” he said today when pressed to give a timeline for closure of the bothersome landfill.
However, he acknowledged that the extraction process had not yet started.
“We can’t extract as yet because the main waste that is here is the green waste, the coconut shells and the metals. As soon as the grinders come to grind that green waste and coconut shells, that would be extracted . . . and that is when the closure of that section would happen,” he said adding that within six months his company hoped to have the grinders on island.
However, Cherry sought to assure that he had heard the cries of the residents and therefore his business was not taking any more green waste, coconut shells or metals at Lower Estate.
“We are hoping that as soon as we have our facility at Vaucluse completed, all of that waste would be diverted to there. As soon as we get the permission from Government. All of that would be happening at Vaucluse,” the waste hauler said.
“We are hoping that everything goes well, and if it is not, I would simply go back to the media and the residents and let them know what is happening,” he promised.
When the Barbados TODAY team visited the quarry this morning, one worker was seen using heavy machinery to cover the waste with topsoil. Trucks were also seen dumping rocks and marl into the quarry.
At last month’s town hall meeting, a 12-member monitoring committee was established to keep an eye on the dumpsite and to ensure that Cherry keeps his latest commitments – failing which the residents said they were prepared to seek legal recourse.
The monitoring committee includes former General Manager with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Dr John Mwansa; former President of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) Dr Carlos Chase; Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Parliamentary for St George North Gline Clarke and former BLP Attorney-General Dale Marshall.