Dec 02, 2021 News
–calls for national solid waste plan to guide townships, NDCs
Kaieteur News – Georgetown Mayor, Ubraj Narine has expressed concerns about the rate at which the Haags Bosch landfill site is filling up even as he called for Government to engage with stakeholders to implement a National Solid Waste Plan.
Mayor Narine said such a plan will guide the disposal practices of municipalities, Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and Village Councils in a collaborative approach to ensure safe disposal of waste. He highlighted that as Guyana continues its transformation and development with the oil and gas sector there will be an increase in waste production from commercial and domestic activities, as well as directly from the oil and gas industry.
The mayor stated: “modern countries are moving away from landfills which contribute to significant negative impacts on the environment. The organic material in landfills decomposes and methane gas is released as experienced in the old Mandela Landfill which was a health hazard to residents and a constant threat to property in the community”. He continues to raise awareness on the issues of leaching and the contamination of surface water and drains of nearby water sources at the Haags Bosch landfill.
Narine also expressed concern about diseases and other adverse health effects, such as respiratory illnesses and cancers which studies have shown are linked with exposure to landfill sites. “An updated National Solid Waste Management Plan is necessary to guide institutions on proper disposal strategies and provide a platform for engagement to inform Government policies on the construction and maintenance of these facilities to limit the negative environmental and human impact of waste disposal. At the current rate of production, the Haags Bosch landfill would no longer be able to accommodate the garbage produced in 10 years,” Mayor Narine said. He said the M&CC is ready to support such a collaboration to ensure that we must move away from the landfill culture to protect our environment and citizens.
Back in October this newspaper reported that Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL)—ExxonMobil Guyana was dumping some 30 to 35 tons of residual waste daily from its operations. This much is documented in the company’s latest Cradle to the Grave Waste Management Analysis which had identified the landfill as a possible dumping ground for some of its waste. According to the document, at present, the HBL is the only engineered landfill in Guyana for the disposal of municipal solid waste and non-hazardous commercial/industrial wastes. The original cell (Cell 1) started receiving wastes in 2011 and is currently at 99 percent capacity. It was noted that Cell 2 became operational in March 2021 and that the landfill currently receives approximately 500 tonnes of waste per day, including about 30 to 35 tonnes per day of residual wastes generated from EEPGL projects.
It was noted however, that with an increase in offshore activity expected, along with potential for growth in other industrial and commercial sectors, the quantity of waste going to the HBL will increase going forward.
To this end, it is calculated that at current disposal rates, Cell 2 is expected to last for approximately four to six years. “This estimated life span of Cell 2 depends upon how much the waste volumes received at the landfill increase with the expanded economic development expected in the Georgetown area over the next five years.”
The report documents that there remains two additional cells at the site (Cell 3 and Cell 4) for future development. Each of these cells is 6.5 hectares in size and could be anticipated to last for five to six years each. As such, the company indicated that the current available landfill capacity certainly appears sufficient for the short term between two and three years, with Cell 2 having begun operations in March 2021 and considering the forecasted growth in waste volumes from industrial use. According to EEPGL, presuming Cells 3 and 4 would be brought into operation, the future HBL landfill capacity appears reasonable for the long term, at least up to 10 years.
It was noted however, “there are several development aspects related to the HBL that may impact future operations.”
These include, new housing, commercial, and industrial developments which continue to be developed in the Eccles area, in the vicinity of the landfill site. Additionally, it was noted that in general, landfills and residential development are not perceived as compatible land uses in light of the potential pollution of odours, traffic, and smoke from fires.
At HBL, the nearest residences are currently 500 metres away and further along a new roadway is currently under construction near the landfill site which will serve as a main connector to the East Bank-East Coast Road Linkage Project. The new roadways are expected to create new access for housing and other economic activities in the nearby areas that were previously inaccessible.
It was noted too that the new roadways will also increase traffic in the area.
As such, “these competing land uses and expansion of residential and commercial areas create uncertainty as to whether the HBL will be a sustainable location in the future.”
According to EEPGL, “consequently, new landfill development in the region may be appropriate for consideration going forward.”
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