New garbage challenge hits city as Haags Bosch landfill opening pushed back two months

Yesterday, a month before its scheduled opening in August, the start up of the new landfill site at Haags Bosch was pushed back to October and city officials worry that this will be an added strain to the already overflowing Mandela site.

Half-naked, barefoot children taking garbage to the Mandela dumpsite yesterday. The dumpsite, which is way past its closing date and now encroaches on Le Repentir Cemetery began smoking again yesterday as its life was extended another three months. The new facility at Haags Bosch, Eccles is not yet ready. (Tiffny Rhodius photo)

At the Haags Bosch, Eccles, East Bank Demerara site yesterday, Project Manager of the Georgetown Solid Waste Management Programme Walter Willis explained that there had been a delay in the acquisition of materials needed to complete the site. “… Delays in delivery of geosynthetic materials including the Leachate collection pipes which need to be at the bottom of the landfill cell before placing of the solid waste,” Willis said.

“We, the Government of Guyana, are committed to have Haags Bosch Landfill activated before the contractual time of January 15, 2011. In keeping with this desire the contractor has committed to have prepared by October 5, 2010 part of cell number one for receipt of solid waste,” Willis told the media.

Some persons dump their garbage alongside the road leading into the Le Repentir landfill site. The city constabulary had to be called in yesterday to monitor the situation. (Tiffny Rhodius photo)

Willis said further that the active cell number three at the Mandela landfill will be permanently closed in October “bringing an end to the period of an environmentally unfriendly method of solid waste management.”

A line of vehicles disposing of garbage yesterday at the Mandela Landfill site (Tiffny Rhodius photo)

Deputy Mayor Robert Williams said the Mayor and City Council “is going to be in serious trouble…we have to go back to the drawing board.”  According to Williams the delayed opening of Haags Bosch was recently made known to the council and will affect its projects and plans.

Financing and space to open a new cell in the current landfill site is an “immense challenge”, Williams said.

Further, he said he was concerned at the current method of disposal of garbage in the light of the suspension of services by city contractors. At the Mandela landfill, a steady stream of garbage arrives by horse carts, trucks, and people pushing wheel barrows.

Williams added that with the current garbage crisis there has been indiscriminate dumping by enterprising collectors. Garbage lines the roadway to the entrance of the Mandela landfill and yesterday the City Constabulary had to be called in to address this issue.

Construction work still being done on the Haags Bosch landfill site. The access road has already been completed and the number one cell is now scheduled to be open in October. (Tiffny Rhodius photo)

Concerns were also raised about the distance to the new landfill site which Williams says “is going to be a great challenge” especially with transportation costs.

When questioned as to exactly where a new cell in the Mandela site would be opened Williams responded, “some part within the cemetery.”

Mayor Hamilton Green, addressing the financing of a new cell at Mandela said, “It would be justifiable and decent if someone can gave us the money to open and close an additional cell.”

Mandela’s cell number three was scheduled to be closed at the end of this month and partial closure had already begun.

The site, Deputy Director of M&CC’s Solid Waste Management Department Ishrie Ratan said should have been closed a long time ago. Currently, he said, the landfill is encroaching some two to three acres on Le Repentir cemetery.

The Mandela site is now expected to be closed in October and Williams said measures such as awareness and enforcement programmes and more vigilance will be put in place when the facility closes to prevent persons from dumping their garbage.

A $9,729,822 contract was awarded to BK International in association with Puran Brothers Disposal Service in November 2009 for the construction of a landfill site.

The contract for Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill stipulated a construction period of 12 months and an operation period of 10 years.

Haags Bosch, according to Willis is designed to take in the waste of the entire Region Four – from Soesdyke to Mahaica – which he said, amounts to nearly half of the population’s waste. The site will be operated by BK and Puran Bros and will be protected.

There will be security gates, Willis said, at the entrance and at the eastern extremity of the facility, which he pointed out is surrounded too by moats.

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