Firefighters tackle another dump blaze

| 06/02/2019 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service

Fire at the GT Landfill, 6 February 2019

(CNS): The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) continues to be plagued with problems but dump fires have been a far less frequent occurrence in recent times. However, sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 Wednesday morning, a fire ignited at the southeast side of the George Town Landfill. Firefighters were quickly on scene and were able to contain the blaze, and DEH officials said they anticipate that the smoke from the fire will be “eliminated by the end of the day as all the necessary measures are in place to deal with the situation”.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service said that in the meantime, with the use of excavators to dig up the debris and water pumps to thoroughly saturate the concerned area, the situation was under control.

CIFS leaders are still on scene and will remain until the fire is completely extinguished, while other off-duty fire personnel are on standby in case further assistance is needed. The fire prevention team will then assess the scene to determine the cause of the fire. No injuries have occurred as a result of this incident.

Fire officers assured the public that the fire is not a cause for concern, but it will continue to be monitored as a matter of public safety. The fire service is expected to provide a detailed report as soon as a full assessment is carried out by its team.

Despite the burning garbage, the DEH stated in a press release that the landfill remains open to the public.

Dump fires have become less of a problem since government invested in compression equipment and more marl to keep the pile of garbage from combusting. However, the size of the dump, dubbed “Mount Trashmore” as is the highest point on Grand Cayman, and the gases emitted from it make fires inevitable.

Cayman News Service

Mike Haworth

In other news from the DEH, officials announced the recruitment of a new assistant director for solid waste, who started work last week. Michael Haworth has over 15 years of experience in waste and project management and holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Geology and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Geology.

He comes to Cayman after serving as the waste management project manager with the Ascension Islands Government. Before that, he served as head of landfill energy projects delivery for Viridor Waste Management Limited in the United Kingdom.

He was welcomed by DEH Acting Director Richard Simms, who was seconded to the department following the staff challenges and the still mysterious departure of the former director, Roydell Carter.

“My goal is to ensure that the team and infrastructure are ready to come together with the government’s proposed Integrated Solid Waste Management System,” Haworth said in a release.

The DEH, which is still still facing enormous challenges over collection delays in many districts, has made little progress on this proposed Integrated Solid Waste Management System.

The Ministry of Health, which has responsibility for the department, announced in October 2017 that a consortium of local and international contractors lead by the Dart-owned company, DECCO, had been selected as the preferred bidder following a tender process for the implementation of this new waste programme. But there has been almost no news about the talks between government and these bidders some 16 months later.

According to the health ministry in an update in November, the project is still years away from being operational and government does not expect to complete talks until the end of the first quarter. No deal will be signed until an environmental impact assessment has been completed and the bidder secures planning permission for the project, according to the ministry, which said it would not expect the project to be completed until almost the end of 2021, if all goes to plan. 

For more information, call the DEH Solid Waste Unit at 949-8793 or email

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Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CIG never could fix problems and never will. Caymanian culture forbids respecting anything that is not third world. This is why Caymanian kids can not learn at expensive schools, Caymanian leadership will never bring Cayman out of third world mentality because it is third world mentality. This is not a problem. It is a way of life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Best of luck to Mike Haworth. I remember a previous assistant director of solid waste at DEH. He came here from Canada with some pretty impressive environmental credentials just post-Ivan but when he left nothing had changed because CIG and the MLAs running the show at the time wouldn’t listen to him. He’s got two mentalities to contend with – NIH (not invented here) and ‘what’s in it for me?’ – and fighting against them is like shoveling s*** up a steep hill.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I want to know the plan for waste disposal at the Kaaboo festival?

    What happens to the pees and poos of all those festival goers?

    Did they ship over porta potties? Do they ship them back full of poop? Is there a large vacuum on island that sucks all the waste out?

    Squatty potties?

    Serious question, though. Where is everyone going to go to the washroom at Kaaboo next week?

    Will they have burn toilets? How great would that be?

    Oh! Dumps on fire!!!!!

    I just thought – it will be the 2019 Fyre Festival!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was very excited about the news relating to the new infrastructure relating to our landfill needs. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe we should be expecting within a few years:

    -A waste to energy facility
    -Recycling programs/facilities
    -A composting facility

    I’d expect to have heard news relating to the construction of these facilities/land allocations but haven’t heard anything. I guess the government just put it all in DECCO’s hands and hasn’t followed up. We need to hear the wheels are in motion besides just the signing of paperwork and the shaking of hands.

  5. Anonymous says:


    If I didn’t know the downside I would say let it burn but I know that’s not safe or environmentally friendly.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:12 As reported by another media house, ‘Small fire erupts at George Town landfill’. The only problem is small fires have a very nasty habit of turning into big fires – all they need is the right fuel and it is for sure buried in there somewhere.

      • Anonymous says:

        Spontaneous Combustion: where a buried heat source, resulting from biological decomposition or chemical oxidation, produces a rise in temperature if the waste mass cannot dissipate the heat faster than it is being produced.

  6. Anonymous says:

    New plan – we issue everyone gas masks, then light the dump on fire and let it burn out. We will only have ash left, problem solved!! Easy!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone should be wearing masks here. No cars are emissions tested and we have an incinerator with no filters on it at the landfill, so hazardous waste is burned we breath it in directly.

    • Anonymous says:

      @8:12 am Ash from the open air dump fires is extremely toxic and you would not be able to get rid of it. Ever.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When old condos as Lacovia for example would get demolished, where would demolition and construction debrees and waste disposed? At the Dump?
    When others would start to follow Lacovia steps, where their demolition crap would go?
    Time has come to erect the Cayman flag at the top of the Dump.

    What is the distance from the Dump to all so called “prime area luxury real estare developments” on SMB? Less than a mile? What is the definition of idiocy?

    P.S. how 67% of the “new” Lacovia condos were sold if the project hasn’t been approved by CPA yet?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Please allow Dart to sort the dump out. It is important to have a working infrastructure Cayman Government.
    You cannot have 60,000 people living on this small place and expecting to grow this place to 100,000 and not expect to sort out the dump, sewage, schools anf should we mention TRAFFIC patterns.
    Start getting traffic lights instead of the stupid inefficient roundabouts.
    Cayman wants to be a City with a stuck in the 60s mentality Government.
    Start with voting some new people in because the tired crowd needs to be replaced.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes let Dart deal with it, trash knows trash.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can assure you 6.10am be glad you have only those tiny little roundabouts to deal with, and compared to many in the UK they are extremely tiny! Used correctly and competently they are a breeze. You put traffic lights everywhere and you’ll soon see the traffic backing up miles away especially in peak periods. Maybe a suggestion of roundabout awareness courses should be made available to the incompetent driver (s) which are many on Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah and have drivers re-learn that the outside lane is only good for the first exit when you first get on a round about and is used to exit everything else after that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh yeah, traffic is horrendous trying to get from Bodden Town to George Town in the early mornings. Really and truly something needs to be done immediately. Why did government technocrats thought that working on lLinford Pierson Highway, making a turning lane to Tropical Garden, fixing the sharp corner coming out of CountrySIde would alleviate the traffic jam from Bodden Town to George Town at peak time in the mornings and evenings.

      I have a few suggestions:

      1. Mandate it illegal for anyone to bring in any more of those cheap wore out Japanese used vehicles. They are only cluttering up the road and the landfill.

      2. Mandate a real bus system.- not those mini busses driven by the maniac drivers who pass on the wrong side of traffic, drive on side walks and never stop for persons to embark and disembark from other verhicles, but real big busses that can take many passengers in and out of town comfortably. Government can partner with private sector to get it set up and running.

      3. Mandate that any future hotels, condos, government buildings should be built in the eastern districts, so that some of the traffic can go east instead.

      Start with that’s got to help.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Cayman folks! Where we build eye sore hotels that block the beach and stack our $#¥# in the middle for everyone to see and smell! Oh land of soft fresh BS……

  10. Erin Brokovich says:

    Heh heh heh, welcome to paradise! A ticking time bomb.

    • Anonymous says:

      But but but look over here. We need da port to save Caymanian jobs. Look over here… we are approving 10+ floor construction on 7MB despite a “Go East” policy. Barkers pending contruction. Unnecessary government projects in Cayman Brac.

      Just don’t look at the unfinished schools, dump, traffic issues, already overcrowded airport, incomplete road projects, fire service leadership mess, overcrowded prison, lack of plan for Brexit, handouts to churches, growing civil service, Lack of Implementation of Standards in Public life law, no district councils which are required by the constitution, crime.

      Don’t stop de carnival!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Gotta make room for all the garbage generated by Kaaboo next week. Wait! Maybe it will still be smoldering by then? Raging like a volcano!! Another Cayman attraction!


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