I was relieved to see that garbage was a front page issue in the Caymanian Compass.
I am heartened that the Government is looking at garbage and recycling seriously.
I would like to add four comments for Mr. Mclean’s already weighty list of ‘contemplateables’.
1) A dump tipping fee needs to be counterbalanced by serious enforcement of a no-dumping/littering law. Anyone who has walked through the MRCU dike roads in Barkers will understand why. Truck loads of garbage are already being left there, despite the dump being free.
It is a shameful mess. These invisible pigs carelessly pollute what would be a wonderful natural habitat. They would have even more incentive to continue this practice if the dump started to charge a tipping fee.
2) A high temperature plasma incinerator (with possible electrical co-generation plant) would be a very environmentally efficient way of dealing with waste on island without resorting to household separation (recycling takes a great deal of education). I do not know what the economics of this route would be nor do I know whether we produce enough garbage to make this project feasible, but I would suggest that it be considered an option and these questions explored. The by-products would be far less damaging to the environment than the dump fires that happen occasionally now. The plant could be used to generate electricity hence helping to reduce the nation’s dependency on oil. Perhaps we could offer garbage disposal services at a fee to cruise ships in order to amass the necessary amount of waste.
3) If household separation is the preferred route, then I would highly recommend one of the first targets should be a community composting program. These have been successful in Etobicoke and other regions in Ontario, Canada. Cayman has a high need for soil so financially this would be the best starter program as both the collection of compost and selling of the end product could be income generating. No exporting costs would be incurred.
4) I implore you to not make the mistake of thinking that waste handling needs to be kept in the public sector. Allow for private companies to tender for the business and have the government role be a service monitor and fee collector/ license provider.
There are some very fine waste management companies that would welcome the opportunity to bid for Cayman waste management projects.
They already have the know-how, equipment and networks and could train local employees. Having a service provider who already knows the best market for plastics, glass, metal etc. in the Caribbean and southern US would be a big advantage. It does not make sense to try to reinvent the wheel.
I am so pleased to hear that this discussion is taking place and hope to hear more input from the community.
I would think that to pay for start up costs of any waste management project, an issuing of a government bond would be very attractive to many concerned private investors, residents and citizens.