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Saturday 20 January 2018
News

Talks on waste management long overdue

THE EDITOR: In light of recurring landfill fires, vector- borne illnesses, poor drainage, widespread flooding and countless pleas for the relocation of existing landfills, the question still remains: what are the Environmental Management Authority and the Solid Waste Management Company Ltd doing to address our waste management issues? “Countries generating the most trash per capital”, an article published on worldatlas.

com (dated March 7), ranked TT number one on the list of countries generating the highest levels of per capita household waste in the world; 14.4 kilograms for each individual person per day.

While this is both alarming and embarrassing, our waste management issues are far more injurious than we wish to acknowledge.

In 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a specialised agency of the World Health Organization, stated there is indisputable evidence to show that exposure to outdoor air pollution (like smoke from landfill fires) causes lung cancer.

For years, multiple fires in the Beetham landfill covered Portof- Spain and environs in thick black smog, threatening thousands of citizens with respiratory problems and causing a major traffic backlog along the Beetham Highway. Just this week, fires in the Forres Park dump caused some 200 students to be sent home.

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) humbly requests that the Government takes urgent action to prevent future fires, which will in turn reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

FFOS is calling for public consultations on policies and investments supporting better municipal waste management, including the reassessment of existing legislation to consider site rationalisation away from vital ecosystems such as mangroves.

A transparent, participatory and accountable public consultation on best-practice approaches to national municipal waste management is long overdue.

Terrence Beddoe
Gary Aboud FFO

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