Cabinet approves business case on dump

| 12/10/2016 | 30 Comments
George Town Dump, Grand Cayman

George Town Dump, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The outline business case setting out proposals for how government should move from dumping all of its garbage into a landfill to an integrated waste-management system has been approved by Cabinet, paving the way for the request for the procurement process to begin. Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has responsibility for the dump (a.k.a. Mount Trashmore), said government had approved the purchase of around 12 acres of land in the area by the dump for what will be much more processing of garbage in future instead of just dumping.

During a media ‘tour’ of the entire facility Tuesday, McLaughlin also revealed just how far government has come in getting to grips with what had been a mounting, unsustainable, combustible and poorly managed mix of rubbish heaps at the George Town landfill.

The premier admitted that it had taken time to find a sustainable solution to the whole garbage system, such as reducing the amount of solid waste Cayman produces, reusing, recycling and burning the garbage to make energy. He said government had to shape the right policy first and then find a way to implement it.

The bid for private waste contractors to take on the country’s garbage problem in partnership with government is going to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and the government is hoping to have a partner in place and the contract signed by March next year. Work will then start on a waste-to-energy facility.

However, work on recycling and composting is already underway, so those systems should be operational by the end of the year.

While the dump will not be resolved before Cayman goes to the polls, McLaughlin believes the PPM will still hold the reins of power after the national ballot, but if they don’t,  he said the next government would have to be the “biggest idiots” to try and change what his administration has set in motion.

The major elements of the expected changes to waste management will be implemented when the waste-to energy project is completed. However, the Department of Environmental Health has already made a significant difference at the dump after government invested millions of dollars in the right type of equipment and replaced the aging fleet of machinery.

Government has also increased the budget for fill, which means the landfill can be better managed with a lot less of the 84-foot rubbish pile open to the elements. Cosmetic changes and safety issues, such as a one-way system for trucks coming in, have also improved the overall management.

It was clear during the media tour that having a limit on how much of the dump is open at any given time has reduced the nastiest of odours and there was an evident absence of flies. The proper use of compacting and fill to cover the trash has also cut down on the number of fires.

The next immediate steps for government is getting the tyres treated and removed. the next step will be dealing with the scrap metal, which will be tendered and in future all scrap metal will be dealt with by the private sector. Once the area taken up by the piles of rubber and metal is cleared, it will be used as the composting site.

One of the corrugated units at the dump site has been adapted into a temporary recycling centre. With more people engaging in separating their recyclables from the rest of the garbage, the landfill workers are now baling the plastics and sending them overseas, making an impact already on what goes into the landfill.

The government has taken some considerable criticism for the time it has taken to decide how to tackle the problem holistically, but McLaughlin appeared confident that the public would appreciate the massive complexities involved and the need to transition from simply putting our rubbish in a big pile to managing and processing waste in a sustainable way.

“There is a great deal of misinformation around about what we have been doing here,” the premier said, speaking to the press at the dump, maintaining that it was not simply a matter of “fix the dump” as some people have tried to suggest. He said it was clear when he came to office that government had to develop a long term solid waste management plan and not just try to fix the dump by closing it and opening another one somewhere else.

McLaughlin said the primary goal was to reduce the amount of rubbish that is being dumped. “Waste-to-energy is a viable alternative to putting waste in a landfill but it is expensive,” he warned, stressing that government was still serious about dealing with it. “We are making a great deal of progress,” he said.

The question remains about how government will deal with the reduce, reuse and even the recycling elements of the system.

The government aims to reduce what goes into the landfill by 95% to enable the current garbage pile to be remediated, and the 5% that will still need to be dumped will go into a much smaller, engineered landfill on the existing site. However, that means that a lot of garbage will be going into the waste-to energy generator.

Considered just above dumping in the much-touted waste management pyramid, burning rubbish is a far less preferable ‘green’ option than ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.

Although government plans to separate and collect garden and bio-waste for the composting, with no plans for curbside pickup of recyclable items, such as paper, plastics, glass and aluminium, or plans to mandate the separation of garbage, government will be dependent on the public cutting down on the waste they generate, reusing things and sorting and delivering their own recycling to community depots.

See the government’s bullet points on improvements to the landfill on the CNS Library

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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (30)

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  1. Harauguer says:

    Move that stinking dump to BoddenTown !

  2. Soiled Son says:

    I propose to make the Sister Islands our Dump, so that future generations can enjoy a cleaner Grand Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      That comment is very disparaging towards Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. If you knew about those islands, the people those islands produced are far from being trash.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good job Alden. Dont pay any attention to all the negative comments they mainly come from a few wanna be politicians and their supporters who want a piece of the action.

    • SSM345 says:

      6:44, You realize everything they are now doing could have been done 4yrs ago for FREE! The facility would have been completed by now and work would have started on the Dump, but now in true PPM style we have to pay for it (again for the umpteenth time for information they already have from the last 40 reports) with money we don’t have, and you call that a success?

      • Anonymous says:

        REALLY. Show me/us the details. If you are referring to the Dart “plan” it was a piece of land with 2 lined holes. THAT WAS IT FOR THE FREE PART.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:04, Ahhh I think I heard you on the radio the other day. What district will you be running in. And by the way nothing is free.

        • Anonymous says:

          Let us not count the chickens before the eggs pop out hmm? They leave this till last and expect you to believe they’re going someplace? Let me tell you, give anyone of those jokers one more second is a waste of your vote. You want change? Stop voting for losers! #nothingfromnothingleavesnothing

  4. East End Resident says:

    I really wish the government would consider banning the importation of drinking water in plastic bottles. What an environmental nightmare these things are. Totally unnecessary for a start because our water is totally safe to drink from the tap anyway. It makes me cringe when I see tourists head to the grocery store on arrival. One cart is full of (imported and over-packaged) junk food for their stay and another cart full of bottled water – and all that plastic waste ends up in the landfill or littering our beaches.

    • anonymous says:

      Agree, but it take a visionary to see that. But why nobody drinks the tap water? Can someone enlighten me,please?

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen. Also maybe plastic straws and styrofoam to-go containers, wasteful one time use garbage.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is by far one of the best articles I have even read on this site.

    Most people will still refuse to understand that just ” fixing the dump ” is like building a house without a house plan.

    But CNS you tried to explain. Well done.

    So proud of the way in which this entire project had been handled.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It takes an educated and disciplined public to make recycling work. Alden can’t fix that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I put some empty bottles in a recycling container clearly marked “glass only” and found plastic and aluminum items in the container. No excuse for stupid. Just saying.

  7. Anonymous says:

    yawn…4 years of ppm …and still at square one…..

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Great deal of misinformation”? There has been no information…full stop.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Typical – recycling, waste to energy, composting, improving processes etc – what a waste of time. Why can’t Government follow the Dart solution – throw all the garbage in a hole in the ground at Bodden Town where all the poor people live?

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

    This is not fixing the damn dump Alden! What part of “there is no more space” is it that you don’t understand? Fix the damn dump Alden!

    • Anonymous says:

      Please provide details of your recommended “solution”.

      • SSM345 says:

        1:05pm, DART gave it 4+yrs ago, was even willing to build the facility for free, provide the land and everything but no, BT voters didn’t want that. There are also 20+yrs of reports with the solutions that no one has acted on which is why we find ourselves where we are today.

        • Anonymous says:

          Horsesh*t. Dart offered a hole in the ground far away from the rich people and on the doorstep of the poor people. Dart did not offer any other kind of recycling, processing, composting, waste to energy etc solutions. They offered a hole in the ground.

          • Anonymous says:

            The Cardno ENTRIX Terms of Ref (ToR) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) were robust documents for a fully integrated 110.2 acre Waste Management Facility designed and equipped to operate in accordance within the parameters of International Best Practices of 2012 – link is provided below to the document. It is impossible to dismiss the comprehensive and integrated waste management plan shown in Figure 1-1 (on page 1) as simply “a hole in the ground”.

            It included collection fleet operations and maintenance facility, the eight fully-lined waste cells, the waste/leachate retention measures, sediment management and processing, recycling, a disposal facility for MSW and recycling residuals, integrated capacity for a future WTE facility, forebays/ponds, and vegetated buffer zones. Oh, plus the East-West Arterial Route was going to be built, and permanent full-time jobs for Bodden Towners.

            It’s somewhat ironic that NIMBYs cite “a hole in the ground” as their major complaint when there are two active quarries (Midland Acres and Tarpons Springs) in the adjoining area making noise, polluting, and extracting well below MSL seemingly without any community concern for decades. That’s probably because these quarries, located on land adjoining what was the proposed waste facility, are located in the district 2-4 miles away from the habited areas of Bodden Town. Dare to compare SMB’s comparative proximity to GT Land Fill? Less than one mile.

            Many years on, current GT and Brac Land Fills are still unlined and are still operating years beyond their capacity limits and still contaminating water, and bleaching our reefs.


            • Anonymous says:

              Dart offered to provide the first phase of that facility, which consisted of, errmm, digging a hole in the ground. All the rest (10 out of 10 for copy and paste btw), was for CIG – i.e pie in the sky. Still, would have got the dump away from the beautiful, special people so beloved of Dart.

          • SSM345 says:

            Just like that hole in the ground Camana Bay, The Kimpton and everything else he does that is of such poor standards.

            Good to see Ozzie has done so much for his people in 4yrs which is what exactly? F all. Ooops. I apologize, I saw him handing a box of diapers over to the volunteers who were collecting for Haiti. My bad.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you, at least someone else can see the holes within Darts proposal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, waste-to-energy generator can’t possibly be located anywhere near any residential area.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot! Can’t you read?

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

        *Idiots. Yes, we can read and have read (apparently unlike Alden), every single report, all of which say that there is no more room at the inn. More importantly than reading, we can also vote.
        Just fix the damn dump.

    • Anonymous says:

      But goverment just bought 12 acres next to the existing site…there is at least 12 additional acres to work with to deal with waste-to-energy, composting, etc…

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