By: Curtis Morton

Charlestown-Nevis-It is the brain child of Mr. Andrew Hendrickson, the General Manager at the Nevis Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) but he invited all of the residents on Nevis who are concerned about their environment, to share in the vision.

On the evening of Tuesday 27th September, the Nevis Initiative for Cleaner Environment (N.I.C.E), was officially launched.

The event took place at the Nevis Cooperative Credit Union’s Conference room, to a fairly packed room of concerned residents.

The program was ably chaired by Ms. Anesta Maynard of the NSWMA who in her opening remarks, noted that all present were a part of history, as she opined that Nevis is indeed the cleanest island in the Caribbean but stated that the new initiative, intends to take it to another higher rung on the ladder.

She thanked all for coming and also apologized for the absence of Minister of Health, Hon. Mark Brantley, who was ill.

The man of the moment, Andrew Hendrickson, General Manager of the NSWMA, then delivered a comprehensive overview of the proposed initiative.

He stated that he was appointed to the task of General Manager of the NSWMA on April 1st 2015 and has since been referred to as the ‘All Fool’s Manager.’ He however has used that as a positive and has been ‘foolhardy’ enough to implement new projects and programs, ably assisted by his very supportive team, which have worked well to the betterment of the island and an improvement in waste management generally.

He stated that in May of this year, he was fortunate to attend a recycling course in Japan and that has changed his perspective on waste management. During the course he made a power point presentation, which made reference to the ELIMINATION of waste and reduction of waste material that gets to the Sanitary Landfill.

He stated that he is now bringing his proposal to the general public for their approval and improvements, based on the suggestions expected at the session.

He further noted that hundreds and thousands of dollars are spent on the removal of waste on the island, whereas RECYCLING efforts can not only serve to eliminate quite a bit of the material that ends up at the Landfill, but also put hundreds and thousands of dollars into the pockets of the residents on the island.

He made reference to the success of Japan in this regard and urged his listeners to catch the vison and follow suit.

Environmentalist, Mrs. Miriam Knorr also added her voice to the proceedings and noted that 30 years ago, the hoteliers on Nevis also started a N.I.C.E program which meant at the time: NEVIS ISLAND COMMUNITY EFFORT, which basically had the same goals. She also gave a historical overview of recycling and general cleaning efforts spearheaded by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS), which originated in 1986; a glass recycling effort in 2001 which earned $8,000.00; the origin of the Joan Robinson fund in 2014, which has spearheaded many environmental clean up campaigns, including a clean schools’ contest this year, which was won by the Ivor Walters Primary School, with the Cecile Browne Integrated School placing a close second.

Additionally, she had words of commendation for the recycling efforts of Admiral Enterprises in St. Kitts, which has assisted greatly in the recycling of plastic bottles from Nevis.

Her concluding statement was riveting: “Nevis is at the tipping point. We can be a positive example to other countries or we can be a real mess,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of Minister Brantley, was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Nichole Slack-Liburd, who congratulated Mr. Hendrickson and his staff for the initiative and noted that her Ministry has always worked closely with the NSWMA and will continue to support such initiatives. She noted that the initiative is well in line with her Ministry’s stated goal of reducing the incidences of diseases affecting our population, for example, the dreaded ZIKA virus, dengue and others.

General Manager of the St. Kitts Waste Management Corporation (SWMC), Mr. Alphonso Bridgewater, was his usual animated self, as he gave guidelines to the successful implementation of the project.

Apart from congratulating Mr. Hendrickson and his staff for the initiative, he made a surprising revelation, that he and his team in St. Kitts have utilized ideas coming from the NSWA and commended them on talking such initiatives as the Solid waste levy, which is yet to be implemented in St. Kitts. He also applauded the constant use of the media by the NSWA, as he noted that media personnel are hardly available at solid waste management functions in St. Kitts.

He then focused on the three ‘F’s’ necessary for the successful implementation of the initiative:

FUN-He noted that the education process must be purported in a FUN way. Children must be a key part of the process and they should be taught fun ideas so that they can sell the plan to their parents. He stated that the message must be consistent

Functionality—The plan must be comfortable and convenient to the residents on the island and must be supported by legislation and regulations

FINANCE-Every aspect involved must have a cost factor and the people must be willing to share in the cost.

A lively discussion followed, which involved a question and answer period which also saw a number of interesting suggestions recorded.

One of the questions raised sought to find out the plan of action being utilized by the NSWMA in dealing with the hundreds of tyres at the Sanitary Landfill, which are a breeding source for mosquitoes, especially with the ZIKA threat in the air.

Mr. Hendrickson in response, noted that there is a collaborative effort in place with the Environmental Health Department to do some regular fogging at the site and stated that the upcoming implementation of the Waste to Energy plant, will also see the acquisition of a tyre shredder, to be utilized at the site. However, it was suggested that the tyres should be individually bored in the meantime, so that they will no longer be able to hold water.

According to Mr. Hendrickson, the implementation of the Waste to Energy Plant will effectively take care of most forms of waste, including plastic bottles and the emphasis on recycling will be on glass bottles; aluminum cans and used engine oil.

The aim is that one day soon, the residents of Nevis, will be separating their waste materials into specially identified bags and they will be collected on specific days, so that they can be dealt with, either at the Waste to Energy Plant or at the Sanitary Landfill.

A task force to lead the process forward, was then put in place. The members are:

Isabel Byron; Ervin OUNCE Weekes; Maureen Caines; Miriam Knorr and Anthony Webbe.

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