The Local Government Ministry (LGM) is vigorously encouraging Guyanese to better take care of their environment and is pushing composing as a means of achieving this goal. The Ministry in their Clean Green Guyana Campaign is seeking to employ measures to promote waste reduction and proper waste management.
With specific focus on citizens, the Ministry has implemented composting trials in various communities. Residents of Block CC, Mon Repos, have been the first to recently reap the rewards of their composting efforts when they were able to gather the compost which they made.
As part of this project, the residents of Block CC had to place their kitchen and yard waste in a community compost heap, allowing it to decay, forming what many consider a natural fertilizer.
It was noted that the reaction of composting is often described as nature’s way of recycling as the process converts organic waste into a valuable product. “Instead of the disposing of organic waste by undesirable means such as dumping or burning, composting waste leads to cleaner, healthier communities.”
It was stated further that by separating and diverting organic waste for composting, the life of the young East Bank Demerara Landfill, for example is extended.
According to the Ministry, “under the Clean Green Guyana Campaign administered by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), a number of Block CC residents learnt the heap composting method from local composting expert, Mr. Rufus Lewis.”
It was noted that Lewis had visited the area several times over the course of the six weeks and worked closely with the Mon Repos residents to show them how they could turn their kitchen and yard waste into a product called ‘compost’ that could be used as a soil enhancer and natural fertilizer.
One of the community’s resident, Mr. Hiralal Bissessar said that residents were pleased to learn how to compost and hoped to continue to do so in their backyards. He noted that the project progressed smoothly and that residents experienced no bad odours or the presence of pests due from the compost heap as a result of Lewis’ constant supervision of the process.
More recently, the Local Government Ministry had expressed enthusiasm about composting since they were concerned about poor waste management, particularly in the city. Even more recent are the incidences of flash floods and high water levels even after small amounts of rainfall. Much of this has been attributed to poor drainage as a result of interruptions in the free flow of water in drains and canals.
A research conducted by the Local Government Ministry, showed that a significant proportion of waste generated in Region Four, comprises non-reusable, single-use products, including plastic bags, plastic bottles, and Styrofoam containers. Such non-reusable waste was said to make up approximately 10 percent of the waste from Guyanese households, the largest proportion after biodegradable or organic waste that makes up about 50 percent of household waste.
It was said that these non-reusable plastic items are devastating to the environment and are stressful to the solid waste management system both because of volume and the fact that they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers which eventually contaminate soils and waterways.
The Minister had said that citizens have to change their outlook on waste management and play their part. It was pointed out that many citizens are not used to separating their waste and cannot reap the possible benefits that come from recycling waste.
“By not separating the commercial, industrial and hazardous waste from the household, local waste collectors create environmental and operational challenges for the Landfill.”
Citizens were further advised to help with solid waste management by separating the organic part of their household waste and composting it.
Many of the country’s commercial and industrial enterprises were also accused of not properly storing the waste they generate; often mixing recyclables and hazardous waste which “makes it difficult to dispose of different waste types in an environmentally sound manner.”
The Ministry noted that interested persons can find out more about the Clean Green Guyana’s composting initiative by visiting the initiative’s website www.cleangreenguyana.com or the Project’s Facebook page onwww.facebook.com/cleangreenguyana.
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