The construction of a waste-to-energy plant; a leachate plant and an administration building for the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA)?? at Vaucluse, St. Thomas, are among significant projects?? expected to be rolled out??by the Ministry of the Environment shortly.

According to Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe,?? water and solid waste management?? will occupy his?? Ministry’s??attention in the latter part of this year and beyond, with the solid waste management??agenda, in particular,??to be predicated?? by a ministerial statement on?? the Greenland Landfill.

"The statement will clear the way for Government to announce its directions relative to the management of solid waste in Barbados. Our position has already been taken and approved by cabinet, and once we announce it we will be able to have a national discussion," he said.

In terms of the multi-million dollar solid waste management projects at Vaucluse, Dr.?? Lowe pointed out they would be pursued through public-private partnerships. According to him, while calls have already been made for expressions of interest in the projects, the selection process is expected to be somewhat lengthy to ensure transparency and accountability.??

Once started, construction of the leachate plant, which will serve to protect the island’s groundwater from leachate leakage, is expected to take approximately 18 months, while the waste-to-energy plant will take some 24 months. Construction of the administration building is expected to be more immediate.

Giving an overview of Government’s overall solid waste management programme, he noted phase one had started with the commissioning of the Transfer Station at Vaucluse.???? He acknowledged it was already doing "a tremendous job" in diverting municipal waste from Mangrove Landfill, thus extending its life span to accommodate the amount of time needed to switch over to the waste-to-energy system.

Additionally, the Environment Minister disclosed Government was also hoping to begin construction of a new Barbados Water Authority facility within the next six months. Noting that quite a lot of revenue was currently spent on rentals, which Government could ill afford, Minister Lowe mentioned excavation had already started on the Pine, St. Michael facility.

"Work is advanced enough that we should, in the next three to six months, be able to turn the sod," he revealed.

The fourth floor facility, which the Minister indicated would be "as green as possible,"???? is also expected to feature a modern administration building, recreational space and an adequate cafeteria, among other amenities.

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