Council to avert return of Princes Street dump woes

The City Council plans to place a clay cap on a section of the Princes Street dump and organise litter pickers in order to prevent the reoccurrence of hazardous fires and smoke which have plagued nearby residents.

Meanwhile, the modernized sanitary landfill slated for Haag Bosch aback of Eccles, East Bank Demerara, is supposed to be finished by January 2010.

Over the last decade the dump posed a serious challenge to the council’s management, with fires, thick smoke and a repulsive stench making the lives of residents miserable.

Director of Solid Waste Management Hubert Urling told Stabroek News that the city is working towards capping the problematic area as soon as possible to control the pickers’ activities on the dump.

He said dumping has started in a new area, on the west of the site, with less activity on the old area.

The first part of the dump closest to Mandela Avenue that was used for dumping years ago has been capped with clay to promote vegetation growth and prevent water from seeping into the matter below. Also at the Princes Street dump efforts have been made to capture methane gas but the project has been stalled for lack of investors.

The solid waste department had laid gas vents in some 18 acres of the older part of the dump. However mechanisms to actually collect the gas and channel it into cooking gas or electricity are lacking. Urling had said last year that investors are needed for this aspect of the project.

However this might not be needed any more as the Haag Bosch project is expected by 2010.

The stalled project between Guyana and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) should be finished next year, Urling told Stabroek News. He said that to the best of his knowledge the funds were secured and a contractor has to be identified for the project.

Urling explained that most IDB loans expire within five years and the agreement was signed with IDB in February 2007.

The project execution unit had been coordinated since August 2007 but the project has not gone very far and it is now 2009.

Stabroek News this week contacted government engineer Walter Willis who is the project manager. But Willis refused to divulge information on the project’s status and said only that a “steering committee meeting” would be held yesterday after which he could be contacted for information.

In the midst of the woes at the Princes Street dump last August Willis had told the media when asked that the reason for the lengthy delay in the project indicated “shortcomings in the design of the site plan.”

Local government Minister Kellawan Lall had said that Haag Bosch was confirmed as the site, even though Eccles residents had expressed concern at the facility being built in their area.

Addressing these concerns Lall had said that “the design meets international standards,” and will be nothing remotely like the Princes Street dump site.

Willis had also said that by mid-January this year a contractor/operator will be on the project.

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