Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe

Within the next six to eight weeks Government should be on a path to diverting some 65 percent of this island’s waste away from landfills to more productive uses, as the much-touted Solid Waste Management Centre at Vaucluse, St. Thomas becomes operational.

Word of this has come from Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, who said the facility was expected to be officially launched in another few weeks.

Speaking following the launch of the University of the West Indies’ Recycling Initiative at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination recently, Minister Lowe said:  “We are just about ready to do the official opening of Vaucluse.

Over 95 percent of the infrastructure is in. They have started doing some experimental processing and so far everything is checking out. So I would anticipate that with a few logistical routines which have to be concluded, that we should be ready to go with the official opening [in] another six to eight weeks.”

In reflecting on Government’s strategic plan for solid waste management, which includes the Mangrove Pond Landfill, as well as the new Vaucluse facility, Minister Lowe said the intention was to restrict the volume of waste directed to Mangrove.

“Mangrove is still going to be important, because we hope to be able to harvest landfill gases and convert them to energy. So there will be some purpose for it, but our intention is to reduce and, or restrict the volume of solid waste that goes to [the] Mangrove Landfill with the introduction of the Vaucluse Solid Waste Management Centre,” he underlined.

With regard to a more definitive position on the future of Greenland, the Environment Minister said a full assessment of the facility would have to be performed.

“We do not have any intention, at this point, to make any declaration relative to what will become of Greenland until a full assessment is carried out. We have to look at whether or not it is solid-waste ready; whether there will be additional costs to make it ready, as well as the relationship between Greenland and the new integrated centre at Vaucluse. There are a number of issues which must be factored in,” he said.

While explaining that there are currently no solid waste management activities being carried out at Greenland, Minister Lowe said there was general maintenance of the facility to ensure that it did not become overgrown and that there was no vandalism.

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