End solution for rubbish 4 years away

| 18/11/2015 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service

George Town dump

(CNS): As government continues to follow the process to identify how it will deal with waste-management across the Cayman Islands in future, an open house session in George Town Tuesday evening revealed that it will be October 2019 before any new system will be fully operational. In the meantime, over those next four years the health ministry will be introducing initiatives to begin dramatically cutting the amount of garbage that goes into the landfill. Starting with a widespread recycling programme in the next few months, as well as a composting venture, the government also plans a major education campaign to encourage people to reduce their garbage and find ways to reuse what they would have once thrown away.

Speaking to a small crowd of people who turned up to the open house session at the government’s HQ on Elgin Avenue, the consultants and government officials from the Department of Environmental Health talked about the possibilities and the work currently being done to round out the plans and recommendations. But it was very clear that the concrete decisions and details are a long way off, as government is still working through the many possibilities and many questions asked by the public were left unanswered.

The only certainty is that government will be following the international ideal of the waster hierarchy or the inverted pyramid of reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and only then dispose, based on a waste-management system where the polluter or waster generator pays.

The process which officials are following towards the privatisation of waste-management will identify what aspects of the waste system can be commercially viable, such as the collection of waste and the recycling of some materials and a waste-to-energy project. While government will be attempting to tie up the non-profit components of the waste business with the profitable ones in any potential tender, it will still retain some elements of the process that the private sector won’t want to deal with, in addition to regulating the future management of waste, in particular any harmful, emissions from waste-to-energy.

The chief officer in the ministry, Jennifer Ahearn, told CNS that government is now at the stage of looking at exactly how it can present the various elements on how to deal with waste as a commercial package to meet the objectives and aims of the national strategic policy. Over the next few weeks the consultants from Amec, KPMG and government officials will be working on finalising an outline business case, which should present more details on how the solution to the country’s waste problem will be financed in terms of the construction of new facilities as well as future collection.

That is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, which will in turn support the procurement process for the various components and the request for proposals. After the awarding of contracts, government then anticipates that the waste-to-energy plant and other new waste-related facilities will be under construction in January of 2017 with an estimated two-year build out. The commissioning of these facilities is expected during the course of that year with the end goal of full operations by October 2019.

Whatever the final outcome, the public and the business community can expect to be paying for waste collection in the future putting an end to the largely government subsidized system that exists at present.

With a long road, ahead, the government plans in the interim to significantly reduce what goes into the landfill. The consultants are also still examining the feasibility of mining and reducing the existing and still growing garbage mound at the George Town landfill, but the consultants have said if it proves unfeasible the dump will need to be remediated, which may still include using the methane emissions for energy.

The consultants have also recommended that the landfills on the Sister Islands are phased out and that a transmission facility can sort waste and ship what can’t be used on those islands to Grand Cayman for recycling or treatment.

The open house session moves to the Sister Islands Wednesday, with the consultants hosting an open house on Little Cayman at the National Trust House, from 11:00am to 1:00pm, and on Cayman Brac at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

For more details on the draft policy and the various plans visit the ministry website here and see related story: Cutting waste cornerstone of new policy 

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Category: Land Habitat, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (46)

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  1. Leticia Pope says:

    In my opinion the problem with the rubbish can not end in four years time. However, it’s kind of positive to read such an optimistic article about that. I wish a luck and success to the campaign!

  2. We Got What We Voted For says:

    Having read all the posts above, I found that we have a lot of dissapointed Voters, who I am sure Voted for the same ineffective MLA’s that we now have. Why? Because when we were voting, we were driven by self-interest: Not In My Backyard, I hate Dart, George Town can keep it, to Hell with the rest of the Country as long as I am ok. WE GET WHAT WE VOTE FOR. Our politicians and problems are WHO WE ARE. So stop whining, complaining, and writing STUPID posts for the world to read. WE GOT WHAT WE VOTED FOR!!!

  3. Rp says:

    “With a long road, ahead, the government plans in the interim to significantly reduce what goes into the landfill. ”

    Is this why garbage was not picked up from my house yesterday as it should have been?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman politicians are good at lots of things, such as talking, making statements, making announcements, giving press conferences, ranting, blaming, making excuses and sounding important but they have a real weak spot where it comes to action.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I remember expensive consultants and reports leading to a solution being found about 5 years ago now. What happened with that? Nothing. It was all hot air and wasted money. And no doubt this is too. If there is a solution in place by November 2019 I will eat my hat.

  6. Anonymous says:

    DEAR 09;38

    I agree with you 100%. I wonder what colour the BINS are going to be for collecting “DRIFTWOOD”

  7. Pure Rubbish says:

    Didn’t the PPM claim to have a solution during the 2013 campaign so where is it? Or was keep the dump out of Bodden Town the solution? They fooled us again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Winning votes in Bodden Town was more important to them than doing the best thing for the country. The same will be the case come the 2017 election, the campaign for which Alden kicked off with his speech to the LA.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just as with tyres and batteries, there should be a special waste disposal surcharge put on all things imported to our islands that are noxious and/or cannot easily degrade or be recycled (eg. foam takeaway trays). Similarly, there should be a proportionate duty break on biodegradable, recyclable and reusable items. Private homeowners should start paying for their costly and labour intensive household collections. It is time to end the cash bleed in that part of DEH portfolio. There should be no free pass, while businesses, hotels, and private residents in stratas are already paying their share. It should be a fair level playing field. This is all simple logic that is easy for everyone to understand and could be implemented more or less immediately if there was a will to do so.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t disagree with a surcharge but I am sure that it will just end up in the CIG blackhole. Perfect example is the Immigration repatriation fee, where does that end up?

  9. Coyote says:

    The triangle is now an old approach, it is a full circle that is needed – check out discussions from the Oct EU Parliament Enhanced Landfill Mining seminar. Cayman can have the best waste management solution. Caymanians must demand no less. RELEASE THE RFP BEFORE spending more money on the current piecemeal approach of regional recycling and composting centers. A central Plasma Gasification Plant, is scalable and less expensive now than traditional incineration tech. Landfill mining by a company with experience is a viable way to get the resources out of mount trash more and toxins out of the ground and water. ALL garbage – except glass and metal INCLUDING dried sewerage sludge and biomass is good Feedstock. We should not consider shipping recyclables that could become energy feedstock. Plastics and Tires are great energy providers. Hospital waste -you bet. This process has No Emissions, No Ash. Inert plasma rock aggregate and syngas are the end products. We can turn Mount Trash more into Mount Nevermore. Dart’s plan was old school compared to the tech available now. The Govt should regulate and license, they should collect from private homes. Use Caymanian recyclers for glass and metal. Use Caymanian collectors for commercial garbage. Use Caymanian engineers to generate electricity from the syngas. Govt oversight / intervention to ensure the CUC agrees to buy electricity generated at a price that attracts the best plant operators to make bids is needed….. and if you must build those piers GOC, let the plant operator charge cruise ships a tipping fee and get cruise garbage into the mix too. Plasma Gasification, Landfill mining.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fantasyland thinking. We need to think in context. What is affordable and achievable for Cayman. Mining the majority of the landfill is not cost effective. It will still need to be capped and remediated and a new site identified. It’s inevitable. Let the process run its course but a new site for a comprehensive solution needs to be identified.

    • Anonymous says:

      How is this a sustainable solution? This demands continued consumption to be remotely viable.

  10. Anonymous says:

    dart had the best solution 4 years ago….welcome to wonderland.

  11. SSM345 says:

    Dinosaurs introducing a recycling program to people, the majority of which still abide by a belief system from the Stone Age is not going to work, and it especially won’t work if you are planning on charging people for this, which no doubt is in the plan because with a new system from Govt, comes new fees.

    If they had manned up and gone with DART’s proposal, it would be complete by now and you would have been guaranteed another term in Office. But no, a minimum of 4 more years (and then some because face it, no Govt has ever done anything on time or within the parameters set forth), before we see any progress.

    And guess what, these lovely mega ships you all want so badly will be bringing thousands upon thousands more people to see the stinking pile of sh*t that greets every ship that comes to our shores.

    A proud Caymanian. Not.

    • sam says:

      And they will be bringing thousands upon thousands tons of waste with them, plastic bottles, cups to start with. Every single cruise passenger adds to the ever growing pile of garbage.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m always a proud Caymanian. I’m not proud of you though.

    • tourism says:

      Maybe if the cruise ships say they will not come to a destination which greets their guests with Mount Trashmore … maybe then they will deal with the dump

  12. Anonymous says:

    I tried recycling when my daughter was in primary school but ultimately had to dump all my sorted items into the same container at the dump. She’s 25 now and they’re just getting around to common-sense thinking. Lets see how long before their “thoughts” become real actions and meaningful recycling measures are in place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Private recycling is everywhere, with bins for plastic, aluminum, glass, paper, even batteries at almost every grocery store. Do some research before posting your own garbage.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice little touch of Caymankindness there.

      • Anonymous says:

        Try practice what you preach. Yes private recycling is on-island but we are not talking about that here are we? We’re talking about the CIG recycling as part of the DOE refuse collections which is a different kettle of fish completely. Try not be so quick to jump to silly conclusions and you might find you are able to hold a civilized and considered debate.

        • Anonymous says:

          We don’t understand the argument that there isn’t meaningful recycling efforts in place – it has been in place for years. If someone won’t be bothered to sort and carry, or relies wholly on the snail-paced ineptitude of the CIG to service all of their needs, or prescribe responsible civic behavior, then that is a sad state of affairs. Our finite landfill area cannot handle what is being put into it. All are welcome to be responsible grown ups today if you truly want to be one. There is infrastructure ready right now for everyone. http://www.joinin.ky

  13. Anonymous says:

    LOL how convenient…….4 years away.

  14. Anonymous says:

    UDP/PPM do your research, Recycling is very expensive – last time I saw figures made public it was 14 times more expensive than regular garbage pick up. What are you going to do have people sort out their cans, bottles, paper, metals, yard debris, tires, batteries, plastics, cardboard, appliances, oil,etc? If you can’t manage the regular garbage with current funds, what makes you think you can implement a comprehensive recycling programme? CNS thank you for my morning laugh with this article.

    • Anonymous says:

      Responsible households are already separating their trash and using the available bins around the islands – it’s voluntary, just as it is to post unproductive lazy jerk comments poo-pooing those efforts. Be a part of the solution to reduce landfill waste, or be a part of the problem.

    • An None Moose says:

      yes that’s surely the point? Like every other country, we all take responsibility for sorting waste.

  15. Anonymous says:

    recycling/composting?….welcome to 25 years ago, cayman islands……zzzzzzzzzz

  16. Anonymous says:

    so why not go with the dart deal…close and remediate the land fill and start the new waste management facility elsewhere?

    under this proposal cayman will still be dealing with the landfill for generations to come….

    • Anonymous says:

      The Dart Deal did not include remediation or a new waste management facility. It included two holes in the ground, one of which was lined.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cns Is there a way the public could submit ideas to the ministry on this matter?
    CNS Note: Here is the link for the ministry where all the details are available as well as a copy of the draft policy http://www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky/

  18. People For A Dump Free G.T. says:

    Pretty sure they campaigned on a solution which they already had. Where is it now Ozzie and Alden? Tell the people why don’t you?

  19. Anonymous says:

    I would say that the end of rubbish can be as little as 18 months away when we refuse the re-elect the refuse we have dealing with our rubbish right now.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Recycling and composting such as this has taken a heck of a long time to come to Cayman. Too long in fact. I remember campaigning for this 10 years ago but as usual nobody seemed interested in anything that wouldn’t make them a quick buck.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, there is quite a material amount of voluntary recycling underway to reduce the quantity of waste going into the landfills. It’s up to individual households, hotels, businesses, bars, and restaurants to actually do their part. Many people do. Drop-off bins have been at Camana Bay, Fosters, Kirks Supermarkets for years. http://www.joinin.ky

      Yet, every day there are thousands of pounds of non-recylcable foam trays, plastic bottles, cups, lids, and straws thrown out by bars, restaurants, and hotels that ought to be made of the correct type of type 1 PETE or type 2 HDPE plastic and recycled to avoid this hazardous material going into our landfills. We’ve known about the Dioxin and PCBs these plastics release for decades and have done nothing – it is very well studied. The incremental cost is negligible and there is a corporate social responsibility to do this, yet nobody from DEH or this Cabinet have ordered it be done. Why not?

      Clearly this isn’t a problem for lack of research.

    • Anonymous says:

      They still aren’t. One of the attendees at the meeting was whinging that ‘you won’t give me the garbage’. (Note the part of the article which points out, obliquely, there’s money to be made by forcing people to pay a private, profit-making entity, for a necessary service.)

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