Backbench MP Ralph Thorne today called on the Ministry of the Environment to undertake a “heavy recycling initiative”, following the lead of some community groups in his Christ Church South constituency.
Speaking during the Estimates hearings, Thorne said: “A heavy initiative needs to be taken in terms of waste disposal and recycling.
“About half of what we dispose ought to be recycled and this would go a long way in solving our waste disposal dilemma.
“I have to pay tribute to the Atlantic Shores network that does recycling twice a month, and they invite people to come from all over the island to paritcipate in it.
“Graeme Hall residents do the same as well, and the people in Ashby Land in Oistins clean up their area once a year.
“I think this should be duplicated across Barbados, and I want to encourage your ministry and relevant departments to get into the schools and teach this.”
Director of the Project Management Coordination Unit, Ricardo Marshall replied that Government had made significant progress on recycling, but agreed that more could be done and the sector was facing challenges from the international markets to whom Barbados traditionally exports scrap materials.
He said: “We have been able to move our diversion rate of waste to 70 per cent – one of the highest anywhere in the Americas.
‘We see waste as a resource and we work with private sector partners. There are a number of waste brokers, or recyclers, here, who process the materials to reduce awkwardness of the size so we can send more overseas, and recycling also occurs here in terms of mulches and other soil amendments.
“In terms of the Reusable Containers Act, we have just got approval for plastic, glass and metal containers other than drink bottles.
“But one of the issues we are facing is with the international markets for these products, because a number of Asian countries that once took this material are no longer doing so or limiting the amounts they are taking, so we now have to look at ways we can effectively utilise those materials locally, such as waste to energy conversion using technology that is sound and accepted internationally.”
MP for St. George South Dwight Sutherland called for penalties for people who had derelict vehicles on their properties or parked in dangerous places for prolonged periods of time.
Director of the Environmental Protection Department Jeffrey Headley said in response: “The challenge we have is resources.
“We have a rolling programme where we identify derelict vehicles across the country, and we are currently completing our financial contract for this year.
“We have identified 736 vehicles, and have already removed 659;11 contractors have received work and we have spent $94,000 on this.”