I WAS considerably confused and in fact dismayed to see the Mayor of Georgetown lecturing the Central Government about solid waste management and disposal for Georgetown and Guyana and expounding on the limitations, potential hazards and the ephemerality of the Haags Bosch landfill facility.
I will make a case for the Mayor due to his youthfulness of not knowing that in the past the Georgetown Municipality took full responsibility for refuse collection and disposal for the City as most cities do. The Council had its own fleet of refuse trucks from which its workers efficiently and effectively collected garbage from every single property, commercial and residential, and safely disposed of it through incineration and landfilling. Georgetown was the ‘Garden City’.
Today, instead everything is farmed out, the collection process to private contractors at exorbitant prices and the Central Government removed the burden of disposal from the municipality by creating the Haags Bosch landfill site. So, I am not sure what the Mayor’s people are doing or have to do with regards to solid waste management. They are clearly on ‘easy street’. And yet still we see piles of garbage all over Georgetown.
However, the Mayor says he wants to see Georgetown and Guyana move away from the landfill culture to protect the environment and citizens. Well here are a few recovery strategies I would suggest that the Mayor gets involved in, in order to persuade the citizens of his Capital City to be a part of: that is recycling, composting and energy generation.
Recycling not only reduces the quantity of waste but also saves money, so there is an economic, as well as an environmental, incentive to have citizens involved in recycling, careful separation of the waste into its different types is important for the efficiency of recycling. Plastic bottles, newspapers, cardboard and tin cans can all be reprocessed and made into new items. Plastic bags can also be recycled and used to make mats, carpets and other products.
Non-hazardous, solid wastes such as crop residues, leaves, grass and animal manures can be managed by the Council by composting.
And finally, the Mayor should have them stop dumping garbage at the incinerator compound in Princes Street and instead replace ‘Old Smokey’ with a modern incinerator that includes air pollution control equipment (e.g., fabric filters, scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators etc.) to remove fly ash and gaseous contaminants.
Rather than just moaning, implementing such initiatives would help significantly to reduce the amount of waste going to Haags Bosch and extend its life most notably.