The management of solid waste in Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini), has gotten the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after health concerns were raised. Recently, the Agency was asked to view the garbage disposal site located at Kansville.
Waste from the newly established town of Mabaruma is being dumped over a cliff, creating a potential environmental hazard.
EPA Board Member, Dr Latchmin Punalall and Senior Environmental Officer of the EPA, Odessa Duncan, got a firsthand look at how solid waste is being disposed of in the region.
Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley said the objective of the visit was to try to improve the way the administration manages its solid waste.
“This is what we call our dump site but it is not suitable and so the [Regional Democratic Council] RDC is trying to correct it to prevent any future health problems or health hazards which may cause residents to become ill. We are looking at developing a landfill site so that we will have a more efficient way of dealing with our solid waste within the region,” said Ashley.
He admitted that it was the regional administration which took the initiative to make the area into a dump site, but now they realise the potential problems it may have on health and the environment.
“The official site which was identified by the Environmental Protection Agency needs to be developed. The dump site is one that the region’s administration would have created last year when they found that residents and businesses were dumping their waste on house lots in a developing housing scheme at Kansville. So in an effort to correct that, we would have done some work like grading the area so that it could become a dump site for the time being, but right now it is going out of control so we are trying to ensure that it is corrected before any major problems,” Ashley said.
Meanwhile, a landfill site had been identified about 200 meters from the current dump site, but it is located less than 400 meters from where a housing scheme is located.
This was one of the concerns of both Dr Punalall and Duncan.
Ashley explained that the site was proposed and approved by the EPA before the scheme was developed but the site was never used.
The EPA is exploring the possibility of approving a section of land in the same community to be developed but is waiting on a proposal from the RDC as they look at the way forward.