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THE ISSUE: Benefits in going green

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

THE ISSUE: Benefits in going green

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PLANS FOR A waste to energy plant, certainly the one proposed by Cahill, now appear to be on the backburner if not shelved. Government therefore has to pursue other strategies for solid waste management.

It has been doing so in an environment of controversy, including the introduction of a tipping fee and the now abandoned Municipal Solid Waste Tax. The major costs involved in solid waste management have also been heavy to bear, and Government has been speaking about sharing the burden, so that the Sanitation Service Authority has a lighter load.

In the meantime, as outlined by Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe, Government has been focused on waste collection while seeking to implement an overall strategy of solid waste management.

Speaking three months ago with the Barbados Government Information Service, Lowe said even as economic challenges persisted officials were committed to proper waste management. He said the findings of a Korean study on waste management would inform future decisions.

“We are not denying that waste is built-up around the country. What we have to do is find a sustainable way of keeping the country clean. It is really a partnership. One, it has to do with the diligence of the Sanitation Service Authority to continue to do its work, but it also has to do with householders and persons who make it a habit to litter and to indiscriminately move their waste from one community to another,” he said.

But there is also a role for the private sector. Businessman Anderson Cherry, one of the country’s leading waste collectors, has established a company called Recycle Barbados and is leading an effort in the area of recycling.

“Collection is going to be a big part of our initiative, especially collecting of recyclables and we have a programme out there where people pay as little as $299, have their waste collected for an entire year and get about $325 in give-backs,” he said during a recent charity event for the recycling venture.

“It is going really . . . well, we have a lot of people signing up and coming on board with that and most of all we are extracting recyclables that would normally end up in the waste stream and in the landfill. So we are doing our part to save the environment and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.”

He added: “Our entire project will hire about 130 people and it is rolling out in phases . . . I want to say to the country that I have pledged to take care of the waste problem in the country.”

One expert who feels Barbados would gain economically and environmentally from a project such as the one proposed by Cherry is environmental economist David Bynoe.

Bynoe, who is national coordinator of the small grants programme operated by the United Nations Development Programme, said there were several “dividends” from recycling and related activities.

“Some of the direct benefits of such an initiative includes the avoided financial cost of landfilling. Now, we know that significant sums are spent in landfilling and if you have to replace a landfill even more is going to be spent,” he said.

“Another dividend would be environmental job opportunities that would be created, we are speaking about new green jobs and the revenue generated from recycling these materials. The indirect benefits of such an initiative are a bit more elusive, they are not as easily identified, but . . . the indirect benefits are there.”