An incinerator and recycling plant have been proposed to end the environmental and financial woes associated with dumping garbage at the sanitary landfill site, at Haags Bosch, Eccles, East Bank Demerara.
The proposal was made by businessman, Dr. Carl Niamatali to Councillors of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) during a statutory meeting last Monday.
Niamatali pitched the idea at City Hall in hope of collaborating with the Council on the project. He said that the plan is sure to garner wider support, once approved.
He told the Council that Guyanese in the Diaspora have already expressed eagerness to get on board should the incinerator and recycling plant project be given the green light.
According to Niamatali, the need for a proper waste treatment plan is more pressing than ever given the astronomical cost associated with maintenance of the landfill site and the effects it has on the environment in the era of climate change.
Niamatali said that the sanitary landfill site is an obsolete method of dealing with solid waste in bulks.
“Thousands of tons of garbage is being lumped and dumped at the landfill site and burned there despite the consequences and the toxic gas emissions. Those contaminated materials filter into the waterways below and in the air, harmful greenhouse gases are released. Added to that, nobody wants a garbage dump in their backyard–it reeks,” the businessman said.
In his power point presentation, the medical doctor and proprietor of Memorial Gardens – Guyana’s only modern crematorium – noted that the health risks are a side effect to the financial burden that the sanitary landfill site has on the Council.
“The cost for maintenance of a landfill site is over $2 billion. It lasts ten years and costs $200 million a year. The monthly operating cost of a dump site is over $4M and the cost to transport the garbage to the site is astronomical.”
“It is not acceptable to be dumping medical waste in the open,” Dr. Niamatali said, listing a host of disadvantages of the landfill site in this regard.
In comparison, Dr. Niamatali noted that in the case of the incinerator, waste is processed in a less hazardous manner.
“Combustible organic substances are burnt until all that remains is the ash; toxic gases will be processed in a computerised system to ensure that little to no toxic gases are released.”
He said too that the proposed site for the incinerator and recycling plant is Le Repentir — which is much closer to the city, cutting the cost of transporting the garbage all the way on the East Bank.
Further in his presentation, Niamatali emphasised to the Council the importance of training the citizenry to be more “conscious” of how they dispose of the waste.
“This is not a mere business proposal. It will warrant a collective effort, for us all to have a cleaner city. It calls for much public education and engagement with all stakeholders, private sector businesses, commuters, media, schools, taxi services, and minibuses operators. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a KFC box thrown out of a minibus window…”
According to Dr Niamatali, there is also the need to reduce the amount of garbage being produced.
“We need to reuse whatever we can reuse—recycle, which means that all garbage must be separated .We also need to replace the use of plastic which is a major cause of pollution.”
Niamatali proposed a school programme teaching the importance of proper disposal and the benefits of recycling.
“We need to take this issue seriously, because it‘s the next generation that is going to suffer. They are not going to thank us for leaving the planet worse off than we found it.”
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