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State of the Art Garbage Disposal Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00

Director of Solid Waste Management Authority Gilroy Lewis, IDB Rep. Javier Benaiges Grau, Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture Hon. Gaspar Vega and Chairman of Solid Waste Management Authority Nolan Michael)On Tuesday, July 30th, the Solid Waste Management Authority officially launched the Solid Waste Management Project that will see the environmentally sound disposal of garbage in the Western corridor of Belize.  That corridor encompasses San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Belize City and San Ignacio and Santa Elena. The project loan agreement was signed in April 2009 between the lending agencies, the Inter American Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and the Government of Belize. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Solid Waste Management Authority.


First to be opened was the transfer station which is a facility constructed for $1.4 million U.S. that allows for garbage to be sorted out into various recyclable materials in a 600 square meter enclosed area. What is left will then be hauled to the sanitary land fill located at mile 24 on the George Price highway in 23-ton containers. It is expected that between 100 to 120 tons of solid waste will be generated and hauled off to the landfill. The facilities are located at Mile 3 1/2 where the dump site was originally located. It features areas for persons to voluntarily drop off recyclable material as well as areas for storage of sorted material including e-waste such as computers and printers; bulk waste, like stoves and refrigerators and, paper and plastic storage areas. Also included is an area for the storage of hazardous waste material in the event that this becomes necessary. There is also an administrative building from where the operations will be directed as well as an area for the workers, who will be sorting out the garbage. These facilities will include bathrooms and locker rooms for the workers to use after their work day is finished.

After the transfer station was opened, the sanitary landfill itself was declared opened. Located at Mile 24 on the George Price Highway, the 350-acre swath eof land has been reserved to encompass the landfill. The first phase of the project includes a 5-acre cell, which is lined with a 2 millimeter thick geo-synthetic liner and geo-textile to prevent seepage of contaminated water into the underground water sources. It also has three leachete ponds for the treatment of contaminated water that is produced when the garbage is disposed. Also featured at the landfill will be facilities to incinerate gasses emitted during the decomposition process of garbage. The first cell of the landfill is expected to last for 10 years as daily garbage will be dumped, compressed and covered to reach approximately 100 feet in height. As part of the first phase of the project at the landfill, there will be the construction of a second cell, which is expected to be completed by April  2014. 

In 2010, the bidding was opened for the design, construction and operation of the facility and 4 companies prequalified. Of those companies Promotora Ambiental (PASA) won the bid having submitted for $8.9 million U.S. to execute the 8-year project. According to the director of the Solid Waste Management Project, Gilroy Lewis, the closest bid came in at $13.9 million U.S. PASA is a joint venture company between a Mexican firm that operates similar facilities in Mexico and two local companies: Mitchell, Moody and Associates and Lopez Equipment Company Limited.

Speaking at the opening ceremonies, Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Hon. Gaspar Vega noted that waste management was on the back burner until the UDP Government decided to implement the project to improve waste management. He cited that solid waste disposal is a global as well as a local issue and impacts everyone and everything in the short and long term. 

Also speaking at the event was IDB Javier Benaiges Grau, who explained that approximately 50 percent of the population of Belize will benefit from the landfill. He noted that the project puts Belize ahead of countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and it is being looked as a model for garbage disposal.