Concerns about air, noise and dust pollution from the Haags Bosch sanitary landfill were among the major issues raised by residents of the Eccles community when they met with the consultant responsible for the facility and officials from the Ministry of Local Government on Monday evening.
The consultation was held to address major issues and concerns related to the landfill and a report on the meeting is to be sent to Cabinet.
A resident said that the immediate area outside of the landfill is a commercial area and noted that the odour from the facility is being carried by winds and it has been very unpleasant for persons who are there on a daily basis.
Consultant Stan Gonsalves of Exp Services Inc. said that the projected buffer zone area was to be two kilometres, but recently the government, through the Ministry of Housing, started a new housing initiative that has decreased the buffer zone to approximately 500 metres. Although he noted that the distance from the house of the last resident to the landfill is 700 meters, Gonsalves stated that theoretically the landfill can function with the reduced buffer zone provided that it is operated in an environmentally sound manner.
He added that the site must be monitored and that the community participation programme must be followed throughout the life of the landfill. He also said that the public complaints mechanism must be maintained and the community awareness of waste management issues enhanced.
Gonsalves further noted that the buffer zone should be controlled by the Ministry of Local Government and the project zone controlled under planning and zoning acts.
Another resident was particularly concerned that the landfill was not designed for the amount of waste it will be receiving daily.
Gordon Gilkes, Project Manager for the Georgetown Solid Waste Management said that the landfill is expected to take in a maximum of 280 tonnes a day and admitted that the lifespan will be reduced significantly if it is getting more.
As a result, the resident retorted that they should cater for this, since it means that they are not seeing into the future. Norman Whittaker, Minister within the Ministry of Local Government, said that the Environmental Pro-tection Agency is working along with the Ministry and that there is currently a plan for other regions to have similar landfill facilities. He added that there will be more visits to the landfills and that there will also be a compactor that will help to reduce the odour. He stated the issue of hazardous and medical waste remains a work-in-progress and that currently medical waste is being treated at the Georgetown Public Hospital before it reaches Haags Bosch.
The objectives of the consultation was to develop relationships so that concerns raised are aired and addressed, to provide technical information to interested parties and to ensure that lessons learnt from previous locations are employed.
Gonsalves further stated that there is a positive benefit from the Haags Bosch facility—a diminished level of illegal dumpling and improved management of solid waste.