There is a lot St. Kitts and Nevis can learn from Japan regarding waste management, as one employee of the St. Kitts Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) recently discovered. Yvonne Brown is SWMC’s Landfill Site Operator/Supervisor (LSO) at the sanitary landfill in Conaree. She was one of several persons from the Caribbean to attend a training held at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Training Center and had an eye opening experience. “It was a wonderful experience for me actually to go (because) I felt like St. Kitts was (up) there when it comes to waste collection…when I got to Japan it’s a whole different ball game in terms of collection, the discipline of the people,” she said. “That experience really opened my eyes to a new level,” Brown added.
While in Japan, Brown visited a clean center where waste is sorted and used for waste to energy. That energy is used to run the JICA Training Center where the visiting officials were hosted for training. They also visited a recycling center, a pig farm and a plastic bottle recycling center. The remains of pig food and kitchen oil are used to make biodiesel, Brown disclosed.
One of the lessons she was exposed to which she believes is beneficial and practical for St. Kitts regarding waste management is a proper management of compost. “We can’t do all. But what I would probably do is…we already have a compost but we can make it better. Right now we don’t have a proper station for it. We are in the process of building a proper building for the compost,” she said.
In the meantime for St. Kitts to implement a proper recycling programme similar to Japan’s she noted that the populace would have to exercise much discipline. “The Japanese people; they are very disciplined,” she said, explaining that there are different collection days to pick up specific kinds of waste. “I had an opportunity to go on a collection day and compared to ours, wow. Nothing compared to ours. Everything is sorted out. The citizens are very, very disciplined when it comes to waste collection in Japan…I was in awe,” she said. In St. Kitts, the waste is combined and not separated.
For Brown, the experience in Japan was not only revelatory, but a motivation for her to apply the knowledge in her daily tasks at the SWMC. “I will try my best to implement the knowledge,” she said, adding that she will work with her other colleagues who have gone there before her for training, in a bid to create a greener St. Kitts.