Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Noel Arscott, has named a new Board of Directors for the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA). The new nine-member Board is to be chaired by Dennis Chung, and will include businessman Mr. Gary “Butch” Hendrickson, and environmentalist Ms. Bevon Morrison.
The Minister also announced an increase in the original reward of J$50,000 by Crime Stop, to J$300,000, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved in starting the fires at Riverton Disposal Site.
In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate at Gordon House today, the Minister expressed regret about the recent fires at Riverton, and stated that a short to medium-term Operational Plan is being implemented to address the issues there. These include the covering of the Disposal Site, which has been completed:
- Re-establishing tipping cells and roads to access the cells.
- Installing fire suppression equipment with pump and a 125-thousand gallon water tank
- The construction of the Riverton access road using concrete solution
- Removing the stock of tyres from the Disposal Site
- Separation of waste (plastic, organic)
In addressing these plans, the Minister advised that tipping cells will be re-established, utilizing one cell at a time, not exceeding five acres, and covered in keeping with the Environmental Permit granted by the National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA). The cells will be covered once per month, and this model will be implemented at all 8 disposal sites island-wide. Minister Arscott also stated that the fire suppression system will be fully operational by August this year, and that similar system will be installed at Retirement Disposal Site in St. James in the next fiscal year. With regard to the expected access road to the Riverton Site, the Minister announced that work will commence this year, at a cost of US$1.8 million.
The portfolio Minister also disclosed that progress has been made in the long-term strategy, of divesting existing disposal sites to facilitate waste management solutions. “As it relates to the divestment of the sites, two Requests for Proposals for the utilization of waste were issued without success. We will however be approaching the investment community again, given the positive responses we have received from the invitations for Expressions of Interest. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise that Cabinet has approved the establishment and authorization of an Enterprise Team led by Mr. Richard Gordon, to select the preferred waste management services provider.”
Minister Arscott stated that the governing Agency, the National Solid Waste Management Agency (NSWMA) will be supported in its public cleansing mandate through the provision of 10 trucks valued at J$250-million. The regulatory powers of the NSWMA are also to be strengthened through the passage of the National Solid Waste Management (Public Cleansing) Regulations, 2015 and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (Disposal of Solid Waste) Regulations, 2015.
Additionally, the Minister indicated that he will be seeking to increase the fines for littering in public places.