Today’s Editorial September 02: A disaster waiting to happen

We had another fire at the landfill this week.

For those keeping track, there have been more than 21 fires at the dump since January 2006. Some of those fires have been very minor; others have been more serious, requiring great efforts from members of the Cayman Islands Fire Service to get under control.

So far Grand Cayman has been lucky the firemen have been able to get even the worst of the dump fires under control in a day or so. But eventually, if something isn’t done about the ever-growing landfill, we won’t be so lucky. One of these days a dump fire is going to hit a pocket of methane gas and the resulting fire might burn uncontrollably for some time.

Having acrid smoke of burning trash waft over the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, the neighbouring homes, businesses and school is not only unsightly, it’s probably very unhealthy. It’s also a potential embarrassment in front of tourists.

For years now we’ve been hearing from successive governments that something needs to be done about the dump; that something will be done about the dump. Yet there it stands, growing taller – and more dangerous – by the day.

There’s been a lot of talk of converting the landfill to a waste-to-energy facility. If something along those lines doesn’t occur by way of a government-initiated plan, nature might take its own course and create waste to energy in the form of a huge, uncontrollable blaze that could have dire consequence for the Cayman Islands.

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