(CNS): Cayman’s rubbish came under scrutiny last week when landfill and waste specialists began assessing the composition of household and commercial garbage in preparation for the next step of the government’s proposed Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS). Two consultants from Amec Foster Wheeler spent several days working with Department of Environmental Health staff at the George Town dump going through sample loads of rubbish to sort the waste and take samples of landfill gas to help estimate the generation rates for possible reuse as energy after the landfill is closed.
“Having Amec staff here last week to carry out waste composition and landfill gas generation work provides important information that is required for the future procurement of the ISWMS,” said Jim Schubert, ISWMS senior project manager.
The outline business case for the project was released last week and recommended a public-private partnership as the way forward to deal with the country’s waste problem with recycling, composting and a waste-to-energy plant at the heart of the system. Government hopes it can reduce landfilling by as much as 95 percent. However, the OBC said it will be more than four years before the new system is implemented.
At current rates of waste disposal, the existing landfill will reach capacity in around six years and the business case found a PPP would be better value for money than the government attempting to deliver the project itself.
“The collaboration would also allow the government to outsource operations that will require specialist recycling, composting and waste-to-energy equipment, operation and maintenance,” officials said in the latest release about the project.
“The whole point of the government’s approach is to minimise the ongoing need for a landfill,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is directly responsible for environmental health. “The argument for the Cayman Islands is not about where we should put more landfills, but how to avoid the need for new sites at all. Landfill is unsustainable and the last option in the internationally recognised waste hierarchy.”
If government can organise new waste collection arrangements, enhance waste-reduction, increase the re-use of bulky waste such as old furniture, improve recycling facilities and create a materials recovery facility, yard composting and use the rest of the waste for energy, it will only need a small landfill, which can be engineered at the current site, officials have said.
The public can learn more about the outline business case recommendations at open house sessions at the Government Administration Building on Grand Cayman on 4 October from 5-7pm, at the National Trust House on Little Cayman on 5 October from 11.30am to 1.30pm, and at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre on Cayman Brac on 5 October from 5-7pm.
A questionnaire will be provided at the open house sessions and is being set up on the Ministry of Health website.