Significant progress has been made at the B’s Recycling Plant as Government continues to work with its management to reduce the mounting waste, which posed fire and environmental hazards.
To date, over four million pounds of material was removed from the four-acre site for compaction or burial at the Bagatelle Metal Disposal Facility, since the Government-led clean-up operation got underway on April 27.
Speaking during a press conference to give an update on the situation on Friday, Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, said he was satisfied that significant progress had been made at the site, which previously had over 70-feet high of unsorted material.
“It has gone from being a potential disaster to being an unsafe situation that we can work with, if something happened, but we need to get it to a safe situation,” he said, adding that there was still a lot of work to be done.
Mr. Abrahams explained that the first phase of the project ended on May 8, with just over three million pounds of waste being removed from the site.
“It was discovered during the initial phase that there were many old vehicles, many cars and heavy metals intermingled with the waste,” he pointed out. That led to a halt to the operations to allow for the removal of the vehicles and heavy metals, so that they could be baled and containerised for shipping.
In total, approximately 350 cars and 70 tonnes of heavy metal were containerised for shipping, and the “white waste”, such as fridges and stoves, was transported to the Bagatelle Metal dump site.
Work at B’s Recycling Plant recommenced on June 1, with the removal of waste from the middle and southern sections of the metal heap.
Mr. Abrahams said during the entire operation, Operator Paul Bynoe had cooperated with officials from the Barbados Fire Service (BFS) and the Sanitation Service Authority in trying to see the project through to completion.
And, while no further notice had been served on the operator at the St. Thomas facility, the Minister said discussions would need to be held with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which had different concerns.
“We will meet with officials from the Ministry of Health and Mr. Bynoe will be advised of any further concerns,” he stated.
Mr. Abrahams said operations at the facility would continue until early next week, when a large bulldozer would be engaged to compact and solidate the remaining material at the location, in an effort to reduce the impact of a fire and provide access for deployment, should one occur.
He gave the assurance that there would be continued monitoring and control of waste, recycling and solid waste facilities, not just at the B’s Recycling Plant, but all across the country.
“This is paramount importance in an effort to reduce the potential for fires and the environmental fall out from such activities,” the Minister pointed out.
Meanwhile, Chief Fire Officer of the Barbados Fire Service, Errol Maynard, told the media that fire officers were present at the site during the activity, and to date, there was no indication of spontaneous combustion.
He also commended the work done so far, noting that the BFS was in a better position to respond in the event of a fire at the St. Thomas facility.
“With the removal of the waste to the western side, we could now ask a tractor to carefully push some of the burning material to that open space, so we have a place to cover it. That was not possible, previously,” he said, noting that there was still work to be done.