Today’s Editorial for October 4th: Cayman must be wise

There’s a citizens group that has banded together to
advocate for a holistic solution to Cayman’s solid waste disposal problem.

Called WISE – which stands for Waste Initiatives and
Sustainable Environments – the group recognises that Grand Cayman’s landfill
situation must be dealt with, not only with a sense of urgency, but also with
foresight.

The government’s idea is to mine the landfill and burn
what can be burned, along with incoming new trash, to create electricity.
Waste-to-energy, as it is called, is being done elsewhere in the world, but
many places are experiencing problems with not meeting volume quotas for the
incinerators. Mining landfills causes other problems as well. For one thing,
the process exposes workers to health hazards. For another thing, it releases
odours into the air, which here in Cayman could harm tourism, given the proximity
of the landfill to Seven Mile Beach. Then there’s the problem with leachate,
which is caused when rainwater comes in contact with toxins in the landfill and
then seeps into the ground and nearby water bodies – which in Cayman’s case is
the precious North Sound. Mining our landfill would only expose inert toxins to
rainwater, actually increasing the amount of leachate. For anyone who doesn’t
think Cayman already has a serious leachate problem, they need only to look at
the photo in today’s newspaper that clearly shows the flume of brown toxins
expanding into the North Sound. WISE, on the other hand, advocates the
establishment of a multifunction solid waste facility that would combine
incineration, composting, recycling and properly lined landfill cells. This
holistic approach would not only reduce the amount of accumulating solid waste
significantly, but would also almost entirely eliminate the threat of toxic
waste being released into the environment. Cayman needs to be very wise with
its decision on how to move forward with solid waste disposal. The best choice
seems to be relocating a solid waste facility away from George Town to a less
populated part of Grand Cayman that has parcels of land large enough for the
purpose. There will be those who scream ‘not in my backyard’, but the good of
the country needs to supersede such objections.

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