JIS News

KINGSTON — Minister of Housing, Environment and Water, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is pleased with the compost project being undertaken by the National Solid Waste Management Authority at the Riverton City landfill.

He said that the idea to develop compost from organic material is an excellent initiative on the part of the agency.

“It is environmentally-friendly, it gives good cash flow and has the potential to contribute a significant portion to revenue. We need to do more of that kind of activity in Jamaica where waste is not just seen as garbage to be dumped all over the place and become unsightly and almost a health risk,” he stated.

Dr. Chang was speaking on August 17 during a tour of the facility located off Spanish Town Road in Kingston, which comes under his new Environment portfolio. He also visited a computer laboratory established at the NSWMA office for the residents of the Riverton community.

He noted that there are plans to pursue aggressively, the waste to energy programme.

“It is well established technology and we have two large landfills, which have the capacity and the volume to provide a fair amount of energy and that has to be looked at.  If we can produce even 40 megawatts of energy, this can result in savings in the country’s foreign exchange and the technology has reached a stage where we can look to do it at an economical rate. It will also mean we will have a cleaner, nicer environment where the landfill is,” he stated.

Executive Director of the NSWMA, Joan Gordon-Webley, who also participated in the tour,  informed that the compost has been tested by the Scientific Research Council (SRC) and has been found to be of good quality.

She said that the project was undertaken as a revenue earning measure to meet the needs of the agency. “We felt that at the NSWMA, it was time that we assisted in earning our way so we have started to collect from the processors in Jamaica, the end product. We have been collecting the cuttings from the road, we collect the manure from Caymanas (Park) and we have produced the best compost in Jamaica,” Mrs. Gordon-Webley stated.

The compost, which is produced through the NSWMA’s Parks and Gardens Division, is available in three-kilogram and 20-kilogram bags at Agro-Grace shops and other distributors island-wide.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chang said plans are being put in place to rehabilitate the road structure at the landfill, which is in a state of disrepair.

He said that despite budgetary constraints, work has to be done on the road in “short order” as the situation has reached an emergency stage.

“We have to improve it; the (road) is almost impassable now. The truck men, some of them are actually rebelling and it is a health risk as well, as you can have accidents. It is really in an unfortunate state and I am going to see how fast we can get something done,” he stated.

He said he has asked that an estimate be done “to see how far we can go, even if it is in stages, but work will have to be done on this road as it cannot continue as is. I will love to have something settled within the next fortnight, at least a decision on how much we can do, and start the work right after.”