SBRC Assistant Accountant, Trudy Small (left) and??Facilities Maintenance Foreman, Richard Armstrong, speaking with Permanent Secretary, Gayle Francis-Vaughan, about the types of mulches available. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Effective solid waste management is critical for the sustainability of Barbados’ environment and the achievement of a Green Economy.

This was among the points stressed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Gayle Francis-Vaughan on Saturday as she addressed the official opening ceremony of the 4R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover) Fair at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. "Although it is often overlooked, comprehensive solid waste management in Barbados is absolutely fundamental to the maintenance of the country," she said.

Mrs. Francis-Vaughan stressed that there was a link between the preservation of the environment and positive economic growth. "The development of the Green Economy is absolutely compulsory to ensuring that Barbados continues to make progressive steps with respect to our national development policy," the Permanent Secretary said.

She added that Government had supported greening efforts with the establishment of the Green Energy Complex, which was expected to provide alternative energy sources through its waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy plants, and solar and wind energy facilities. The Permanent Secretary said that a leachate treatment plant at the facility was also expected to make the landfill safer.

However, she noted that over 70 per cent of solid waste was being diverted from the landfill thereby increasing its lifespan. She added that a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice survey indicated that 70 per cent more persons were involved in recycling. "This very encouraging statistic is irrefutable proof that solid waste is no longer perceived as an invaluable by-product, but as a genuine resource with substantial potential," she said.

Mrs. Francis-Vaughan added that the Ministry was also continuing with its public outreach and education awareness programme of Integrated Solid Waste Management with members of the community. "To this end, another residential recycling programme was recently facilitated between the residents of The Villages at Coverley and private recyclers for the collection of valuable waste items such as PET plastic, glass, metals and paper products," she said. The first project was done at Marchfield in St. Philip.

She told those present that the Solid Waste Project Unit and the Sanitation Service Authority continued to make significant strides on how issues of solid waste and its management were perceived by the public.

The effort was highly commended by the Permanent Secretary, who said the presence of those in attendance demonstrated the commitment people had to ensuring the preservation of the environment.

Saturday’s fair attracted recyclers from the public and private sectors and non-governmental institutions. It also highlighted the role of recycling in transforming old PET bottles into shirts, newspapers into pencils and old cooking oil into biodiesel.

Additionally, it featured Caribbean LED Lighting, the Caribbean E-Waste Management, Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre, B’s Recycling, Ace Recycling and the Deighton Griffith Secondary School.


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