WISE to poll public on trash

Environmental lobby group WISE Cayman plans to poll members of the public to ascertain what they expect of a contract between the government and an US waste management company to handle Mount Trashmore. The government announced on Christmas Eve that Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., had won the tender bid to finance, build, own and operate a waste disposal facility, which would include waste-to-energy capabilities.

The group will conduct what it described as a “random national public polling” over the coming weeks to determine if residents and voters have a good understanding of the issue and to ascertain their “expectations of how their interests should be served”.

The lobby group said it was concerned with the terms of service relating to environmental issues and regulatory processes that were outlined in the government’s request for proposals, as well as the long-term sustainability of any approach taken, particularly if a fully comprehensive strategy is not adopted.

WISE Cayman’s Project Coordinator Theresa Broderick said: “WISE Cayman remains primarily concerned about the necessity to thoroughly assess and properly address the environmental issues of the existing dump which must involve a site characterisation study and its resulting remediation recommendations regardless of any waste-to-energy component.

“WISE also remains sceptical on the adequacy of the existing site if, indeed, the landfill is to be responsibly remediated and, if indeed fully comprehensive facilities incorporating a combination of waste management methodologies, inclusive of recycling, are to be sanctioned to a level expected of a developed nation.” She added that WISE hoped that the government had found “a winning solution”, but reserved further comment until greater details can be confirmed. The approval of Wheelabrator as the winning bidder for the project is just the first step in the process of the company taking over the management of Mount Trashmore from the Department of Environmental Health. The government will negotiate with the company before reaching a contractual agreement based on financial and commercial terms.