Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (left), unveiling the new facility. At right is??Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe.??(A. Miller/BGIS)????

This country now has a new state-of-the-art facility that will create energy from the tonnes of waste produced by households across the island.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart opened Cell Four of the Mangrove Pond Landfill at Vaucluse, St. Thomas, yesterday. The BDS$25 million sanitary engineered facility forms part of government’s BDS$377 million integrated solid waste management programme.

In his address, the Prime Minister said that Barbados had come a long way in the area of waste management and indicated that the commissioning of Cell Four was another component of the green economy and represented another chapter in Government’s continued efforts to "realise a cleaner and greener Barbados" in a "safe and sustainable manner".

"This newly constructed landfill at Mangrove is just one aspect of my administration’s continued commitment to the development of a green economy and a green society in Barbados. The green economy represents the key developmental path for our Small Island Developing State and is deeply rooted in the ethos of sustainable development based on the three key pillars of economic, social and environmental sustainability," he noted.

In addition to Cell Four, Mr. Stuart announced plans for the construction of a green energy, mass burn complex at Vaucluse that would generate electricity by converting the bulk of the waste that was currently disposed at the Mangrove Pond Landfill into energy. He explained that it would utilise wind and solar energy resources and would have a gas-to-energy component that would harness many of the harmful green house gases produced by the landfill.

"These facilities will complement the already existing Mangrove Pond Landfill and the waste management facility known as Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre, which is responsible for more than 70 per cent diversion of waste by weight to the landfill. Further, the local production of biodiesel, though still in its early stages, has the capacity not only to offset our dependence on fossil fuel and reduce our foreign exchange risks in that respect, but also to offer an environmentally sound alternative that would be kinder to the environment and reduce our potential contribution to the causes of climate change," he stated.

Prime Minister Stuart also expressed the hope that the private sector would continue to play a key role in the development and expansion of waste recovery, recycling and reuse including the conversion of waste to energy.

He said that although this country depended on such traditional sectors as tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and international business for its foreign exchange earnings, there was a need to diversify. Mr. Stuart noted that there was an emerging recycling sector that had enabled the country not only to eliminate various items from the waste stream, but also to earn valuable foreign exchange from exports.

"… As you are aware, our fuel bill represents the heaviest demand on our foreign exchange. Fuel is of course, essential for the generation of electricity, the manufacture of goods, and for the transportation of goods and people. Taken together, these three development oriented activities account for over 80 per cent of our fuel consumption. We must, therefore, aim to diversify our energy resources to include more renewable and sustainable ones," he noted.

The Prime Minister told those gathered that matters related to the environment were at the centre of the decision-making processes as far as the creation of a green economy was concerned. Furthermore, he said that it was essential to aim for some kind of equilibrium in the green economy and that could only exist if the three core pillars – economic, social and environmental sustainability-were in balance. "When any one of these makes disproportionate progress at the expense of the other, the equilibrium is disturbed and the ideal of the green economy is put severely at risk", he added.

Making reference to the recently concluded Rio+20 summit, Mr. Stuart emphasised that this country needed to forge innovative partnerships, locally, regionally and internationally to arrest the harmful effects of climate change and because of Barbados’ small size and resource limitations, had to pursue a greener path to economic development.

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