Minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development Norman Whittaker on Wednesday led a city delegation and others to the Haags Bosch landfill site and it was announced that a public awareness effort will be launched on solid waste.
The delegation included Minister in the Ministry of Finance Juan Edghill, Georgetown’s Mayor Hamilton Green and Town Clerk (ag) Carol Sooba. The visit to the site signalled the launch of a venture by the local government ministry with support from GuyEnterprise to bring greater public awareness on the issue of solid waste management and disposal in Guyana, a release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.
There they used the opportunity to hand over a quantity of bicycles to the waste pickers’ department of the landfill. Minister Whittaker said that the donation was in respect of the contribution that the pickers have been making at the landfill.
He also said that the visit to the site was to assess the progress made since the Ministerial team’s last visit in the latter part of 2012. On that visit, the team learnt about problems with compaction and odour of the waste. Whittaker said that since then much headway has been made. The ministry has moved to developing regional landfills in the nine administrative regions outside of Region Four using Haags Bosch as a model for development.
The recent garbage piles around the city have been blamed on the early closure of the Haags Bosch facility. During the visit Whittaker revealed that the ministry is considering extending the opening hours of the facility. He said that this extension will carry a cost and although the City Council, the contractors and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils have expressed willingness to bear this cost, they have no money to do so, a fact that will be considered as the ministry examines the issue, GINA added. According to GINA, Whittaker said that the need to raise public consciousness of the negative impact of the city’s present solid waste disposal practices must not be the job of a few in the ministry, the City Council and the NDCs. He said it must be preached at the level of the schools and churches as all must be concerned and the message of the impact on all must be understood.
Edghill said that citizens have to discover that there is a different way in which they can operate as it relates to waste management and disposal. He said that what must change is citizens’ concept that waste management and disposal is the job of the Government, the NDCs and the Mayor and City Council. “Because we pay a few dollars of rates and tax, we feel we have the right to litter and someone else will come and clean it,” Edghill said.
He said that government is putting in the money, and the infrastructure, and what is needed is the cooperation of all the citizens in ensuring a healthy and clean Guyana.