Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Riverton dump - I told you so

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

Once again, the Riverton City municipal dump (as opposed to a sanitary landfill) is burning out of control. Successive governments have continued to ignore the technical information that has been produced from studies and reports spanning decades.

Almost 20 years ago as a young environmental consultant, I was part of a team contracted to do an analysis of the country's solid waste management situation. Our report provided several recommendations, none of which I will list here, as I am sure you will be receiving other contributions on this. This particular study was funded through international funds (possibly a loan) and the results were largely ignored, as too were other studies that preceded it, as well as those that came after.

I have written previously on the social and economic impacts of refusing to utilise science-based decision making as part of public policy. We are still reeling from the effects of the mishandled chik-V outbreak. The dump fire is another example of how expensive it can be (human and financial costs) when we continue to ignore balanced scientific and technical advice.

Our universities, research institutes and government technocrats should immediately begin calculating the costs to human health, the national economy and productivity for this current event. This event should again serve as a teachable moment, but sadly, I cannot help being sceptical.

As a Jamaican environmental professional, I have become really, really tired of saying "I told you so" when things like this occur. Knowledge send us, Heavenly Father, grant true wisdom from above.


Peter Edwards