Fri | Apr 3, 2020

Solid waste revolution coming - Gordon

Published:Sunday | August 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
A woman walks by the Riverton City dump, while efforts were being made to put out the fire.

Executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) Audley Gordon is rejecting criticisms that the entity is short of a long-term and comprehensive plan to deal with Jamaica's disposal of waste.

With fires reported at four of the island's dumps in recent days the NSWMA has faced fresh calls for a plan to transform the dumps into proper landfills to reduce the environmental impact from the blazes and other issues.

But Gordon told The Sunday Gleaner that plans are in place but these will need a healthy initial capital outlay.

He said that strategically placed sterile disposal sites is the long-term solution to Jamaica's current solid waste woes, but in the interim, the NSWMA will be seeking to get Jamaicans to adopt a culture of separating and composting their waste.


Sterile Sites


According to Gordon, at least three sterile sites are needed across the island and these should be located in areas where there are no formal or informal settlements.

"First, the disposal sites will be sterile and they will be managed in a different way totally, because of the security component. They will also not be in the developed areas, so even if there is a spontaneous combustion, it will be dealt with and dealt with quickly," said Gordon.

"We would adequately secure them from day one and make them real national facilities that get that prestige of the state behind them. Then we would use transfer stations, which would be huge warehouses with a ramp and you have the flooring area where the trucks can go and deposit the garbage, and then transport it by a large bin to these disposal sites," added Gordon.

He told our news team that the NSWMA is now in the process of finding a contractor, a designer and architect for the first transfer station which will be established in Daniel Town Trelawny.

"What we find is a need now to revolutionise the way solid waste is managed in this country and maybe out of this latest experience, what ought to come is renewed energy towards this transformation objective," said Gordon.


Composting Garbage


Gordon is hoping Jamaicans will develop an appetite for composting garbage. This waste can then be used on farms, by agricultural departments or by enterprising Jamaicans who want to make a business from this.

"If we continue to just buy trucks, load up a lot of garbage on the trucks, carry it and pack it somewhere, we will soon run out of space, so we got to be now looking at the compostable and how we can convert them.

"Maybe nothing I am saying here is new, but the time has come to start something and we intend to start something in terms of the compostable," declared Gordon.

The NSWMA head underscored that some of the plans to modernise Jamaica's disposal sites will require huge investments, but said the agency is currently exploring some of the best practises elsewhere to revolutionise the way solid waste is treated.

He said recycling, for example, would result in about 10 to 15 per cent less garbage being transported to disposal facilities.