Benefits of garbage transfer station unlikely to justify cost

Dear Editor,

In a Kaieteur News letter of Jan 14, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) through its Public Relations Officer (PRO) continues to expound the case for a garbage transfer/sorting/recycling station to better manage, as claimed, the City’s solid waste before it is sent to a landfill facility.

However, although the M&CC was convinced of the advantages of such a facility it recognised that the cost to build and operate it was not within its financial and management capabilities and so in its wisdom it will allow others to do the heavy lifting. Accordingly, Cevons Waste Management Company (CWMC) was selected to set up such a facility and land and other incentives such as permission to tap a nearby old landfill to capture escaping methane gas for commercial use were provided. No information was given on the terms and conditions of the M&CC proposed lease/sale nor the costs to the citizenry if any for drop-offs of garbage to the transfer centre, matters which should become available transparently before any contract is entered into.

The benefits being propounded for a garbage transfer/sorting/recycling station are unlikely to justify its cost as the design and construction of such a station complying with generally accepted standards and facilities such as sealed indoor compartmentalized areas with air vents, FE loaders, specially fabricated compactors, scrubbers to get rid of harmful gases, particulates and odour from rotting material in a hot, humid environment would be a costly undertaking and M&CC must be satisfied that CWMC has the financial resources and technical capability to undertake and manage such a venture.

An environmental impact assessment will also be required to ensure that the project does not impact adversely on the health and welfare of people living in the area.

Politics aside, the M&CC should at its next statutory meeting ban the use of horse/donkey drawn carts in the City as they have outlived their usefulness to haul garbage and sundry in a modern metropolis whose streets are already crowded with motorized vehicles and wandering pedestrians. The PRO claimed that garbage trucks spend an average of 90 mins to travel from the City to the landfill at Eccles.

I travel this route regularly and in the worst of times it takes me no more than 40 mins. So a transfer station will not be that much of a time saver to get the garbage to Haags Bosch.

Finally, hauling the City’s garbage to the landfill in a timely manner is not the problem as with an efficiently managed outsourced system this could be achieved without much ado. The Haags Bosch Landfill is a State entity and I am confident that the City without Hammie at the negotiating table could make a case and work out with the Minister of Local Government the need for flexible dumping hours for its garbage without extra costs.  The M&CC should be aware however, that its solid waste disposal problem is not haulage but one of proper collection/sorting, bagging and adequate storage before haulage.

The City’s Bye-Laws should be enforced with stiff penalties to achieve these objectives if any progress is to be made with this longstanding problem which continues to fester in the community.

Yours faithfully,  
Charles Sohan   

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