Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Managing Riverton waste disposal

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I noted with interest the recommendations of CAPRI with regard to the fire at the Riverton Waste Disposal facility and wish to comment on two points. I am in agreement that there is need for waste management strategies to move the country beyond its current point in waste management. However these strategies must be determined by a comprehensive national waste management plan which addresses basic issues such as:

Who has access to the waste and for what purpose?

How should competing objectives be treated? For example, where the same feedstock is targeted for waste treatment such as gasification or recycling, who gets priority?

What role, if any should the existing waste pickers and investors in the sector have?

What levels of funding are required and how will it be sustained? Who pays?

What is the role of the public and the government?

What is the legal framework and how is it enforced?

While these are not exhaustive, they are indicative of the fact that the approach has to be scoped, planned and integrated at the national level to have any hope of success and sustainability. Waste management requires an integrated approach which should then inform strategies. Failure to develop such a plan can result in piecemeal approaches which can increase the risk of investing in the sector.

The next issue has to do with what is a wasteshed. A wasteshed is a geographical region from which waste is collected for treatment and disposal. Consequently there is a Riverton wasteshed comprising Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas. There are three other wastesheds in Jamaica. Some such as Riverton have more than one disposal sites. For planning and management purposes, the division into wastesheds allows for the calculation of waste generation, waste classification and the determination of resource requirements. A Wasteshed is not a disposal site and therefore references to covering the wasteshed are incorrect.

Waste affects all our lives and is inescapable as some would say like taxes and death. It therefore behoves us all to support the sector and do our very best to get it right.

Ann Marie Rodriques

12 Ocean Boulevard