Last week, Premier McKeeva Bush
announced the government had made the decision to allow the Dart Group to cap
and remediate the George Town Landfill. In addition, he said the Dart Group
would also provide a site for a new solid waste management facility at a place
to be determined.
Although reaching this solution to
the Mount Trashmore problem has taken years – actually more than a decade – we
applaud the current government for having the courage to make a hard choice.
The reason no government has wanted
make what probably should seem like a no-brainer decision is that the status
quo with the landfill situation wasn’t as politically dangerous as creating a
new solid waste management facility in someone else’s district.
Make no mistake, though, the ploy
of successive governments’ to just keep deferring the landfill decision was
very, very dangerous to the prosperity of the Cayman Islands and to the
long-term health of the environment.
Undoubtedly, there will be protests
to come and people will likely threaten to lay down in front of bulldozers. The
truth is that no one wants a landfill in their backyard.
Ultimately, however, the good of
the many must outweigh the good of the few.
There are places in the unused interior of Grand Cayman that are not as
close to high densities of population and development as is the George Town
Landfill. Logically, that’s where a new solid waste management facility should
More importantly, by creating a new
facility elsewhere, the Cayman Islands has an opportunity for a fresh start in
its approach to solid waste management using modern methods and equipment. What
will be created is not another Mount Trashmore, but a state-of-the-art facility
that will service the needs of Grand Cayman for decades to come in an environmentally
With the decision to create a new
solid waste management facility also comes the opportunity to bring about other
changes, like mandatory recycling. Polls show the population is ready to accept
such a change and we hope the government has the courage to take that extra
step as well.