Gov’t to Launch Four-Year Waste-Management Programme

Photo: Michael Sloley Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Lieutenant Colonel Oral Khan (left), shares in light conversation with (from 2nd left): Policy Advisor, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, Government of Netherlands, Arthur Eijis; Executive Director, Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association, Patricia Aquing; and Head, Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, United Nations Environment, Vincent Sweeney. Occasion was the opening ceremony for the Caribbean Waste Management Conference held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston on July 4.

Story Highlights

  • The national sustainable consumption and production programme, to be implemented through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), will be formally launched on Wednesday (July 5) at The Knutsford Court Hotel starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Turning to the growing problem of e-waste, he said it is important that the necessary measures be instituted to facilitate the collection, reuse, recycling and refurbishment of this in an environmentally sound manner.
  •   The three-day Caribbean Waste Management Conference is expected to develop a strategy document that will inform government and public-sector partnerships in solving the issue of waste management in Caribbean countries.

The Government is embarking on a four-year programme aimed at enhancing the legislative framework to reduce the pollution of the environment.

The national sustainable consumption and production programme, to be implemented through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), will be formally launched on Wednesday (July 5) at The Knutsford Court Hotel starting at 6:00 p.m.

It is being undertaken through funding from the Government of Japan, in partnership with the United Nations Environment.

“This will address, inter alia, the illegal dumping of garbage, particularly plastics, into the country’s waterways in our urban centres,” said Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz.

The Minister’s remarks came in a speech delivered on his behalf by Chief Technical Director, Lieutenant Colonel Oral Khan, at the opening ceremony held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Tuesday (July 4).

Mr. Vaz noted that persons who irresponsibly dump garbage in gullies and waterways need to be aware that their actions can cause flooding, vectors and other health hazards.

“Eventually, this waste makes its way to the sea through run-off, which creates problems for our shorelines and the health of our marine life,” he pointed out.

He informed that a working group on plastic packaging has been established to address single-use plastic bags and styrofoam.

The working group, he said, will submit its recommendations to the Cabinet before the end of the second quarter of the 2018/19 financial year.

Turning to the growing problem of e-waste, he said it is important that the necessary measures be instituted to facilitate the collection, reuse, recycling and refurbishment of this in an environmentally sound manner.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, are preparing drafting instructions for ‘take back’ legislation under the NSWMA Act, relating to electrical and electronic e-waste,” Mr. Vaz informed.

He noted that development of the regulations is a follow-up to the e-waste pilot programme undertaken by the NSWMA under the Quick Start Programme Trust Fund.

Mr. Vaz said the sustainable management of e-waste can combat poverty, and generate green jobs through recycling, collection and processing initiatives, while safeguarding the environment as well as human health from hazards.

Meanwhile, he informed that the Hazardous Waste Management Policy and Strategy is to be sent to Cabinet for approval as a Green Paper before the end of the second quarter of 2017/2018, and will, thereafter, be subject to public consultations.

Minister Vaz said separation of waste at the household and business levels is integral to achieving a properly functioning system, noting that several developed countries already have such facilities in place.

Separation of waste in the region, the Minister argued, will allow for the establishment of several spin-off businesses, such as composting for the agricultural and horticultural sectors, as well as the recycling of plastics, tyres and metals to make finished products for the domestic and export markets.

The three-day Caribbean Waste Management Conference is expected to develop a strategy document that will inform Government and public-sector partnerships in solving the issue of waste management in Caribbean countries.

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