Today’s Editorial August 02: Another fire at Mount Trashmore

Editor’s note: Parts of the following editorial were taken from a Caymanian Compass editorial that appeared in the 18 November, 2002, edition of the newspaper. The comments are just as valid today as they were then.

Cayman has known for years that something must be done about the George Town landfill.

But nothing has been done.

Wednesday’s fire at the dump should add renewed urgency to the matter.

It was not the first fire at the landfill site and it likely won’t be the last.

Fumes from these fires waft over residential areas close by.

This is bad enough but the smoke and smell also invade the Islands’ tourism Mecca along West Bay Road. This is the most expensive real estate in these Islands and the hub of the all-important tourism industry.

Visitors to this showcase of Cayman hospitality must contend with shrinking beaches, high prices, traffic congestion and now nauseating fumes from the landfill site.

Credit must go to the firefighters and all others who go all out to fight dump fires whenever they arise.

It is usually difficult to control such fires.

Garbage buried yesterday or many years ago may smoulder underground unnoticed until flames appear above ground.

Pouring water over the surface will extinguish visible flames but may not entirely eradicate combustion taking place below the surface. There may be repeated flare-ups after a dump fire seems to have been fully extinguished.

The landfill site has been repository for all of Grand Cayman’s refuse. It is not known what chemical brew decomposition may concoct under the surface over time, or whether the smoke and fumes may contain hazardous matter.

The Dart Group, builders of the nearby city Camana Bay, has offered to trade a piece of land to the Government and take possession of the landfill for the purpose of creating a park at the site now dubbed Mount Trashmore. But talks between Dart and the Government are at a stalemate.

Finding a spot for a new landfill is problematic. We can think of no one who wants a landfill next to their property.

Perhaps some sort of on-site processing and disposal will be the answer.

Before Grand Cayman begins building yet another Mount Trashmore, Government needs to have a forward-looking waste management policy established and in place.

Trash talk has gone on long enough. It’s time some tangible action is taken on Mount Trashmore.

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