By Monique Washington’ nevispages.com
A stock pile of debris, metal and other trash at the Solid Waste land fill, Long Point, Nevis has become of great health and environmental concerns to residents in the area, and one resident is speaking out. The pile of accumulated rubbish is so high that it is said to be falling into the nearby ocean.
Hon. Carlisle Powell, a resident of Prospect Village, Nevis, in an interview with Nevispages, on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the solid waste site, indicated that the situation at the landfill has caused health concerns since it is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry numerous viruses and diseases, and for flies which also carry numerous diseases.
He also noted that trash that has fallen in ocean will have a great impact on the ecosystem of Nevis. Powell accuses the Minister of Health, Hon. Mark Brantley for not paying attention to the matter. He said that the Nevis Solid Waste Management Company does not have the funds “to fix the problem” and the government, (NIA), will have to make available funding to fix it.
Powell has also taken to social media showing videos of the mountains of debris and trash that are feet away from the sea.
According to the General Manager at Solid Waste, Andrew Hendrickson the area which is outside of the main Solid Waste compound on the seaside was designated for trees, plants, plant debris etc. However, over a number of decades, and through both government administrations, persons have abused the location and dumped non-burnable material at that location.
On site, Nevispages observed trucks coming to the location with what first appeared to be burnable material. However, when dumped metal objects were also concealed in the loads. Nevispages also observed hills of decomposed debris with assorted metals, a mere six to ten feet away from the ocean. Evidence of water washing the trash into the ocean is also apparent.
“When the truck men come, they know where the different type of garbage is supposed to go. Sometimes they come here and we see plant material to the top and when they dump it, you might see a fridge, a printer, or an old stove. They dump it and just drive off,” Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson said that because of this, the workers now have to separate the burnable materials, from the none-burnable material and place them where they belong.
“We now have to wait until a bin becomes available because we rent out the bins. Then, when one becomes available we take up the metal and take them where they belong,” Hendrickson added.
When questioned about implementing fines and penalties, he noted that that decision must come from the Cabinet level.
Despite all of the challenges, Hendrickson remains confident that waste to energy project will be on track in the very near future. Hon. Powell however, is of the view that it will never materialize.
“We have heard about Omni-Alpha for about four years and all the Nevis Solid Waste has received is some garbage trucks. No waste to energy plant is coming,” claimed Powell.
Omni Alpha partnered with the NIA in August 2014 when Power Purchase Agreements and a Waste Supply Agreement were signed for the project which promised to effectively manage the island’s solid waste and to provide employment.
In 2014 Chris Burgess Chief Operations Officer of Omni Alpha, was quoted as saying “We executed contracts in August several weeks ago and we are back here to start the development process, engage engineers, environmental consultants, surveyors to start the development and get our construction time table up to speed. We hope to break ground before the end of the year and have both systems operating, commissioned and energized by the fourth quarter 2015”.
Manager Hendrickson thanked Powell for his suggestions and indicated that he and his staff are opened to the suggestions of all persons for the improvement of Solid Waste collection and disposal on the island. He concluded, “The problem we are facing at Solid Waste did not happen overnight and it cannot be fixed overnight”.