|A view of the Sanitary Landfill Extension Cell 4. (A. Miller/BGIS)|
Residents of Arch Hall and Bennetts, St. Thomas and surrounding areas will soon breathe a sigh of relief from odours emanating from the Mangrove Pond Landfill that once made them flee their homes.
This will be one of several benefits resulting from yesterday’s official opening of the $25 million Sanitary Landfill Extension Cell 4 at the Central Cricket Ground at Vaucluse, St. Thomas, and the decommissioning of Cell 3B.
With the newly commissioned cell expected to start taking garbage from today, Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, said the highest social impact of the achievement was to relieve residents of the "absolute terror of an unpleasant smell".
But, the Minister said, "I am not suggesting that tomorrow morning [Monday morning] when you wake up everything will be powdery. What we are saying to you in certain terms is that over the next several months there will be a gradual weeding out of the source of that aggravation to residents".
Noting that it was a long and arduous wait for an end to the smells coming from the landfill, Dr. Lowe stated: "The wait is over!"
Meanwhile, the commissioning of the cell will also clear the way for property developers to move ahead with projects, and the further development of areas of historical significance which were previously placed on hold due to the situation at the landfill.
The new cell forms a critical part of Barbados’ integrated Solid Waste Management System which is also expected to bring significant economic and environmental benefits to the country.
Economic benefits will include the generation of 29 megawatts of electricity, the creation of 5 000 new "clean" jobs over the next five to 10 years; the generation of over $1 billion in revenue over the next 20 years; a reduction in the import of fossil fuel-based products; and reducing the country’s annual $700 million fuel import bill.
Meanwhile, the environmental benefits will include a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; cleaner air; the further protection of Barbados’ ground water resources; and improvement of the aesthetics of the entire green footprint.
"It is not just about the here and now, but also about securing a sustainable future for generations to come," Dr. Lowe indicated.