(CNS): The government will begin a public consultation process Monday on the draft National Solid Waste Management Strategy, which was presented to the Legislative Assembly by the premier on Friday. Alden McLaughlin, who is also the minister for environmental health, said the strategy contains future waste management options that will be considered to develop an integrated solid waste management system for the Cayman Islands. The next phase calls for the development of the Outline Business Case, which he said would guide the final decision about how to deal with the growing landfill and reduce the amount of waste we produce.
The premier described this as an important milestone and said his government was making progress towards a solution as it followed the required process
“As I have said before, the process may appear slow but it is sure,” the premier told the LA, admitting it had taken a while to get to this point. “I am equally confident that the progress will continue steady and sure and that we will provide the country with a waste management system that is second-to-none, which will serve our needs far into the future.”
He said the tabling of the draft strategy was “further evidence that this is a progressive government that gets things done.”
However, the state of the dump is currently a fire hazard, an eyesore and an environmental threat, but Cayman has made few strides so far in organized waste reuse, despite several announcements by the premier over the last year. On a number of occasions, he has stated that plans were underway for organized composting and recycling to begin ahead of the implementation of a full solid waste management solution.
On Friday he pointed to an awareness campaign to reduce the amount of waste the country generates and the introduction of reuse programmes in the draft strategy.
“It also identifies important steps and actions that will be taken to deliver the system and in so doing, address the current unsatisfactory landfill situation. These actions will be targeted to improve the sustainability of all waste management practices, make increased use of waste as a resource, and ensure the protection of the environment,” he added.
The premier said options included recycling depots, the treatment of the residual waste, waste reduction, increased reuse, the recovery of energy from residual waste and substantially reduced dependence on increasingly expensive and unsustainable landfills. He also said the principle of ‘the polluter pays’ was in the strategy.
Answering questions from Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, he confirmed that government policy was to retain the current landfill site and deal with the dump where it is. He said the various new elements of waste-management would be dealt with at the site where possible and consideration was being given to acquiring more land near to the George Town landfill. The possibility, however, of some elements, such as composition or recycling — what the premier described as the less objectionable elements of the process — may be sited on other government land.
McLaughlin added that public meetings on the strategy would begin during the week of 16 November to get feedback before the it was finalised. He said he looked forward to receiving comments and suggestions from the members of this House and the public.
Check back to CNS for a copy of the draft strategy, which will be made public Monday.
Category: Local News