Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Letter of the Day: Riverton dump fix is in your hands

Published:Saturday | March 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I've been seeing sad tales of fires and air pollution at Riverton City in my only homeland, and it makes me angry. Angry because now, all of a sudden, people want to point accusatory fingers at the sources of pollution. The Government seems to be most commonly named, but no one is taking a step back to look at themselves in the mirror.

So, what's burning?

Each time I fly home, I'm taken aback at how poorly we dispose our waste. Each day, everything is put into the same garbage bag and then to the street, for the daily pickup. Corn husks, bean casings, tin cans, plastic bottles, glass.

 

methane

 

Everything goes into the same bag, into the same truck, into the same dump. Into the same pile, which is then covered, leaving microbes no choice but to break down the organic material anaerobically, producing methane, the key to this situation. Methane, coupled with other metabolic reactions and high temperatures, can spontaneously combust, and when this has been happening for an extended period of time, the current situation at Riverton City happens.

But who is at fault?

How many readers know that on Waterloo Road, there is a large house, and, off to the side, staff collect plastic bottles. Whenever I am in Jamaica, I am the guy who goes around collecting plastic bottles after lunch, family gatherings, or wherever I can find them, to drop them off at this location. It takes extra effort, but it needs to be done, and I was probably driving past there anyway.

Our need to blame someone needs to be replaced by a sense of personal responsibility. It makes no sense for the Government to go to the expense of establishing infrastructure for recycling and composting, if it will just collect dust. We need to open our eyes, see the problem, and do something; to stop complaining, and find ways to mitigate our own carbon footprints.

 

possible solutions

 

Carpool or take the bus. The JUTC buses are very clean, and air conditioned. I took them when I was last in Jamaica. Use biofuels, find out where to get them if you don't already. But complaining just makes noise, and aggravates an already strained system.

Why not save your items that can be broken down, and bury them, or compost them in a community setting? Why not recycle your plastic bottles? Why not urge the restaurants you frequent to use biodegradable containers? Why not try carpooling, or renewable fuels? Why not notice pollution before it gets to this point. Why not do something?

Why not today?

PHILLIP M. RANGLIN

pranglin@gmail.com