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Beetham, Guanapo dumps to be shut down—EMA boss
The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is not satisfied local landfills are up to scratch, says chief executive officer Dr Joth Singh. He said: “The EMA is very concerned about the state of landfills. “The Guanapo landfill, like the Beetham., should be closed. The Guanapo landfill should be closed within a year and the Beetham landfill is also earmarked for closure.”
There were plans to create a centralised sanitary landfill at Forres Park, Claxton Bay, to receive all the waste that is generated in the country, Singh said. He said recent heavy rains, coupled with efforts by the Solid Waste Management Company, had extinguished the fire at Guanapo.
As a result, the EMA’s plan to set up a monitoring station there to check smoke emissions were put on hold, Singh added. In a recent T&T Guardian story, Steven Greenleaf, president of the Caribbean Institute of Sustainability, said T&T had dumps, not landfills, and was concerned about fires which could lead to toxic emissions.
Singh, in agreeing, said local landfills were not sanitary because they were not lined to retain leachate, the liquid which resulted from the decomposition of waste. He said spontaneous combustion, as in the recent case of the Guanapo landfill, caused the burning of household waste, which might be toxic.
There was also the danger of toxins from landfills sometimes leaking into watercourses that might be sources of water for irrigating crops and for drinking, he added. “We have found out that the watercourses near the Guanapo landfill are not used for drinking,” Singh said, however.
Commenting on the proposed Point Fortin highway, he dispelled claims the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) had expired. “The CEC was granted in March 2010. If, after three years, nothing is done on the site then it will become invalid, so that is not an issue,” he added.
On protest demonstrations over the construction of the highway, Singh believed the protesters’ main concern was relocation. “The Government is sitting with residents and working out their relocation. Some are happy and others do not want to be moved,” he added. Singh maintained the highway would not result in increased flooding in nearby areas.
“Those areas are already a flood plain. The CEC is written in such a way to not allow the problem to be exacerbated,” he added.
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