Air management

Growing demand for better control of solid waste management in ICT remains a challenge

Over the past few years, what have we done differently to improve or expand the scope of existing resources to support our current solid waste management situation?

Polluted air has plagued residents of Grand Turk and Providenciales for years. The lingering question is: can we take control of the situation before it becomes a crisis? This is the concern of many citizens across the country.

As a resident of Grand Turk, I have seen the impact this can have on this small island. Due to the location of the dump, some residents are more vulnerable than others to the toxic fumes.

Citizens are relieved to hear the recent announcement that a dialogue is about to take place within a new working group on solid waste management.

It should also be noted that over the past two years, occasional flare-ups have decreased. However, to my knowledge, it remains to be determined whether the fires were the work of an arsonist or uncontrollable combustion.

In all likelihood, until a viable plan is in place and in motion, I fear it is only a matter of time. With the damage it could cause to human health over time, even one push is too much.

Of even greater concern, due to the potential impact this could have on our sanitation services, is the fact that Carnival Cruise Lines recently added its largest ship to the fleet and is now boarding our shores. .

This particular vessel has a capacity that exceeds 6,000 passengers. Now imagine the extra number of recyclable cans, bottles, human waste, etc. which will add to our inadequate discharge.

It’s pretty clear which companies and/or facilities on these islands generate the lion’s share of waste.

The question remains, are they doing enough to support the country as a whole in this area.

In a small, developing country like the Turks and Caicos Islands, where the economy depends primarily on its pristine coastline and ecotourism, much more can be done by big players like The Ritz-Carlton, Beaches, Carnival Corporation and others. .

With the recent opening of the Ritz-Carlton in Providenciales and the newly signed contract with Carnival, it was a pivotal moment to address this issue. If provisions had not been included, in my view, they should have been.

Our country is currently in a financial position to lead the way on this issue and not simply follow or offer band-aids. Every government must commit to putting in place a solid plan of action based on reasoning and evidence of the critical issues impacting the country.

Therefore, it is imperative that critical issues such as this are placed at the forefront of any Cabinet discussion. This will help to increase the level of responsibility of those responsible for protecting the health and well-being of our citizens.

Here are some suggestions for ideas to develop.

Above all, the government needs to provide more support for sanitation services and strategies at the local level, including overhauling existing waste collection and disposal processes and procedures.

Grand Turk in particular, the constant easterly winds blow garbage from the dump to the leeward side of the island. Rather than having a chain link fence to contain it, erecting a wall will help alleviate this problem.

Second, we need to take recycling seriously. The existing company undertaking this initiative, why not expand its reach to other developed islands.

Let’s start by educating and exposing our elementary and high school students to the importance of recycling rather than littering. This will help pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Encourage the private sector to set up local food banks or soup kitchens and encourage resorts, hotels and restaurants to donate their non-perishable, untouched perishable foods instead of throwing them in the landfill.

Long-term solutions should be explored to include greater openness to outside investors with genuine interest and expertise in this area.

The infrastructure for getting rid of recyclables is partly there. For example, there is a high volume of containers entering our country every week via these cargo ships.

This is a great opportunity to negotiate a deal with a foreign recycling company. Recyclables can be shipped in these empty containers on empty ships returning to their home port or other ports of departure.

We realize that this initiative is a monumental task, but we must act quickly because time is running out.

Until the country is ready to tackle this problem head-on, we will likely continue to view spontaneous combustion as the cause of landfill fires.

As concerned citizens, we must become a louder voice in promoting clean air and continue to sound the alarm before it is too late.

* Ed Forbes is a native of the Turks and Caicos Islands, who spent over 30 years studying and working in the United States. He holds an associate degree in criminal justice and an honorary degree in criminology as well as various legal and professional certifications in crime prevention and journalism. Ed resides in Grand Turk and is the co-founder and operator of Exclusive Escapes Tours.