Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams. (FP)

Government has initiated a major clean-up exercise at B’s Recycling Plant in St. Thomas to mitigate potential fire and environmental hazards.

While the plant continues to receive plastic and card for recycling, it is no longer receiving metal waste, as its management works with Government to clear the four-acre space, which is in excess of 70-feet high of unsorted material.

This was disclosed by Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, during a virtual press conference last evening.  He was joined by Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard.

“Instructions have also been given to Mr. Bynoe not to accept any more metal at the site, and we are soliciting the public’s assistance in this regard.  This operation is expected to continue until the site has been deemed safe by the Chief Fire Officer,” he said.

It also follows notice being served on the plant under the Health Services Regulation on April 22, which gave Mr. Bynoe 24 hours to begin the work that is to be completed within 21 days of the notice.

He explained this action was taken following reports from the Chief Fire Officer about the state of the facility, as far back as 2019, and more recent reports revealing that the situation had worsened.

However, in an effort to “combat this hazard of unsorted and comingled waste”, Mr. Abrahams said a meeting was held on site with Attorney General Dale Marshall; Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde; officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness; the Environmental Protection Department; the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA); the Department of Emergency Management; the Barbados Fire Service and the Pan-American Health Organization on April 23, to devise an immediate plan of action.

The aim of that plan, Mr. Abrahams pointed out, was to immediately reduce the hazards associated with the stock piles of waste; reduce the height of the stock piles and create an access around it; utilise the waste as a resource to save land and quarry space and to assess the level of soil contamination, and remediate as necessary.

He added that a team, including officials from the BFS, the SSA and a private enterprise, was working on site along with Mr. Bynoe to mitigate the situation.

“To date, we have removed 248 truckloads or 554 metric tonnes of material from the site to the Sanitation Service Authority metal dump at Bagatelle, St. Thomas. Additionally, 265 cars have been baled by Mr. Bynoe and containerised for shipment,” Mr. Abrahams outlined, noting they had received Mr. Bynoe’s full cooperation, thus far.

In response to questions from the media of an alternate site for B’s Recycling, Mr. Abrahams said it was no longer an available option.

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