If Barbados does not pursue a waste-to-energy option in less than five years, the island will have to look for a new landfill.
This is according to Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, who said it was against this backdrop that Government decided to pursue a waste-to-energy option for the island???s waste treatment in the context of an integrated solid waste management programme.
???The public should understand that a waste generation forecast for Barbados was completed in 2005, and it suggested that by 2025, Barbados would be producing over 450,000 tonnes of waste per year,??? Dr. Lowe pointed out.
But, the Minister said the reality was that the Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre hauled just over 355,035 tonnes of waste in 2013. ???There is an exponential growth of waste driven by household consumption, business practices and tourism. With every tourist, there is an addition to our waste growth,??? he noted.
Dr. Lowe explained when Government undertook the programme to find a waste management option for the island, prequalification calls were made, but those calls did not initially lead to a potential proposal to execute a project.
However, the Minister stated that Cahill later came forward proposing to bring financing and the most current technology to the project.??As a result, the company entered into discussions with officials from the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage to determine whether or not the option could be viable.
Dr. Lowe said after the company presented its portfolio of options, the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, satisfied after months of negotiations and willing to entertain the proposed option for waste management, set about to execute all of the preliminary processes that would lead to the approval of an agreement.
???What we have before us is a proposed project. Once this proposed project meets the requirements of the Environmental Protection Department, the Town and Country Development Planning Office, the Ministry of Transport and Works, the Department of Emergency Management, the execution of two town hall meetings, which has been done, and the final certification of the Minister responsible for Town Planning, then the Government can move to full agreement stage,??? the Minister pointed out.
However, he emphasised that if after a review of all the information it was determined by the Town and Country Development Planning Office that the project was not good for Barbados based on its technology, science, environmental and social impact, then there would be no project.
Dr. Lowe further stressed that the proposed project was not one that required an injection of taxpayers??? dollars for its execution. Rather, he clarified that the prospective proponent came into the discussion agreeing to bring its own investment capital, and because of the high viability of the project, the recovery of its investment would be in the sale of electricity.
Meanwhile, the Minister reiterated that Government was prepared to consider any option that allowed it to sustainably treat the ever-growing quantities of waste being produced on the island.