Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 26th 2013 Contents A10
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for AUGUST 23rd 2013
While the Dominican government
charges, fines and sometimes
imprisons scavengers for entering
landfills, Local Government Min-
ister Dr Suruj Rambachan said T&T
will try to utilise our pickers in the
best way possible.
Speaking on Thursday about the
introduction of a solid waste inte-
grated resource policy, which Cabinet
recently approved, Rambachan sug-
gested that T&T could consider
another country s laws in framing
our own legislation.
He also spoke about the closure
of the country s four landfills, which
he said would not happen overnight.
What was hampering the landfills
closure, Rambachan said, was the
fact that the country had failed to
develop a proper garbage disposal
The landfills closure was being
handled by chairman of the Solid
Waste Management Company Ltd
(SWMCOL) Nalini Sooklal and Min-
ister of the Environment and Water
Resources Ganga Singh, Rambachan
Of the four landfills, Rambachan
said Forres Park was the most wor-
"It is worrisome because there are
several villages surrounding it where
the people have been affected, espe-
cially the school in Spring Vale. This
poses a very serious problem for me
as there are a lot of social issues
Rambachan said on a weekly basis
he got complaints from residents
about health problems and the stench
emanating from the Forres Park
Rambachan: No charge for
waste disposal on citizens
Rambachan said he was also not
in favour of the Beetham Landfill
being located a stone s throw from
the capital city.
He said he had been trying to push
Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie
to make a decision with respect to
an investor, who had the capacity to
manage and reduce the size of each
dump, especially Forres Park.
Several proposals from investors,
Rambachan said, had been received.
"Interestingly enough, they con-
tinue to come in. It is a good sign,"
While converting waste to energy
sounded good, Rambachan said the
whole process involved management
Asked if there were plans to con-
solidate the four landfills, Rambachan
said this task would not be easy.
"We need geographic distribution
of the garbage. We are trying our
best in order to see how something
close to that can happen," he said.
Asked if the Government intended
to introduce legislation to stop pickers
from entering the landfills since it
posed a threat to their health and
Rambachan said it was not about
legislation but how they could be
utilised with the separation of
Told about Dominica s laws, Ram-
bachan said, "all of those things will
be looked at."
It is estimated that 3.3 pounds of
waste is discarded by a person each
While admitting that waste col-
lection was an expensive exercise on
the State, Rambachan said he did
not see citizens paying for the col-
lection of their garbage in the near
Instead, he said he had envisioned
citizens separating waste to make it
easier for recycling at the dumps.
Ministers, stakeholders talking
about waste management
Alison Awai, SWMCOL s commu-
nications specialist said: "The Gov-
ernment is presently reviewing
options for better management of
waste in keeping with the recently-
drafted integrated solid waste resource
management policy for T&T. At this
time we can indicate that there are
inter-ministerial discussions taking
place between the relevant ministries."
"It is anticipated that through this
high-level collaborative discussion
that a decision will soon be forth-
coming," Awai said.
While SWMCOL, Awai said, had
tried to discourage scavenging, she
was unable to say how many pickers
relied on the landfills to earn a liveli-
Since its establishment in 1980,
SWMCOL, Awai said, had closed 21
of its 25 landfills.
She said SWMCOL and the Gov-
ernment were presently engaged in
ongoing discussions with regard to
the exploration of alternative systems
to better manage municipal waste
which may include transfer stations
and material recovery facilities and/or
an integrated waste management
Amrita Maharaj-Dube, corporate
communications officer of the Envi-
ronmental Management Authority
(EMA), said the authority was in the
early stages of drafting rules to
address solid waste management.
"This initiative aims to transform
waste management policies and pro-
cedures in this country by adopting
international best practices for prop-
erly disposing of waste and reducing
the burden on our landfills. It is
intended that non-hazardous mate-
rials be sorted by category and either
recycled or disposed of accordingly,"
Maharaj-Dube said this technical
process was being supported by a
multi-stakeholder committee com-
prising officials from SWMCOL,
Tobago House of Assembly (THA),
Water and Sewerage Authority of
Trinidad and Tobago (WASA), the
American Chamber of Commerce
and representatives from civil society
The EMA hopes to have the rules
completed by December.
Maharaj-Dude said the decision
to close the country s landfills was
a matter of national governance.
Govt to close landfills
Looks at improving garbage disposal system
An aerial view of the Beetham landfill in Port-of-Spain, one of the four remaining landfills in the country. PHOTO: ALVA VIARRUEL
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