Poor management of Haags Bosch landfill threatens IDB funding – Ministry

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has threatened withdrawal of its involvement in the Haags Bosch Landfill project on the East Bank over several non-compliances.

The IDB had signed a loan agreement with Guyana in 2007 in the amount of US$18.07M for the project.

According to a press release yesterday from the Ministry of Communities, the project was initially conceptualised to be managed by the Georgetown Municipality but is now being managed by central government since it was expanded to include several Neighbourhood Democratic Councils on the East Coast and East Bank Demerara as well as three on the West Bank Demerara.

“The site which was designed to function as a sanitary landfill operation is now operating below its design purpose,” the Ministry said.

The current “operation has resulted in negative impacts to both adjoining communities and the environment” and “the Ministry of Communities is in the process of developing a remedial action plan to ensure sound environmental management at the Haags Bosch Landfill site.” Confirmation of several non-compliant items related to the operations at the site was made on June 4 through a presentation by Project Director of Georgetown Solid Waste Management Programme, Gordon Gilkes to Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan and his team.According to Gilkes, the items cited included “the absence of a treatment abatement lagoon, a landfill gas management systems and the application of a daily cover to the landfill.” In addition, he said, “soil excavated from several locations on site, intended for use as daily cover, was diverted, with the agreement of the executing agency, to another location for use not related to landfill management.”

The contract for the construction and management of the landfill site, the release said, “was awarded to BK International and Puran Brothers Disposal Services.”

Further, it said, “utilisation of the landfill site was fast tracked since the open dump formerly operated in the Le Repentir Cemetery was at its capacity.”

In responding to the current state of the Haags Bosch Landfill, Bulkan said it resulted from the “propensity to micromanage.” Ideally, “solid waste management would now be the responsibility of the local authorities and not the central government’s” as was done in the immediate past. Further, Bulkan noted, “the lessons learnt on remedying the Haags Bosch Landfill Site would inform the Ministry’s efforts in strengthening local democratic organs for the management of landfill sites.”

As it relates to solid waste management, the release said, the new government’s strategy “will ensure that waste produced by households and commercial entities will not become an environment and health problem.”

More important, “it is envisaged that under such a strategy existing dumpsites would either be closed or reformulated to achieve higher operational standard.”

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