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Editorial: Separate functions of NSWMA

Published:Monday | March 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM

We agree with Andrew Holness, the opposition leader, in his suggestion for a change in the law to disentangle the functions of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) as regulator of the solid waste sector in Jamaica and operator of waste-management facilities.

Or, more to the point, the NSWMA has a near, if not absolute, monopoly on the running of public dumps. It also - except as it relates to specific environmental issues - has, under Section 24 of the law that established the agency, regulatory oversight of these dumps.

As Jamaicans are all too keenly aware, and for which they are paying dearly in damage to their health from the smog associated with the frequent fires at the authority's crude disposal sites, the NSWMA has not done a good job at either. The NSWMA complains that it doesn't have the resources to create sanitary landfills.

In the circumstance, this part of its operations should be divested to the private operator(s), possibly in partnership with municipal authorities, while the NSWMA would maintain its licensing and inspection role as the industry's watchdog.