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It's no waste matter

Friday, October 06, 2017

Dear Editor,

I read the column by Wayne Campbell, 'It's about time we sort out garbage collection', published Wednesday, October 4, 2017, and immediately identified with his views — even though the problem is islandwide, not just for Kingston.

I am no authority on the current policies, or lack thereof, in place to address waste management in Jamaica. It would appear, though, that the lack of a framework is to be blamed for the pile-up of garbage in some areas and the 'over-collection' in others as a year ago I was told that residents in western Jamaica routinely receive collection sometimes three times in a week.

A large percentage of garbage is recyclable. I know that Recycling Partners of Jamaica Limited is working at diverting recyclables from the waste stream, and this will reduce waste to the dumps. Certainly more needs to be done. Scientific research has suggested that 42-60 per cent of the waste produced is compostable (organics). It therefore means that this organic material should be diverted from the waste stream. Plus, we all know that organic matter is a more complete fertiliser than the ones we buy from the store.

The problem with disposing of organics in our landfills also has long-term environmental impact. The formation of leachate (liquid containing toxic material) will contaminate water sources affecting humans, aquatic life, etc. The formation of methane in landfills are also well documented. Methane is 21 times more destructive as an ozone depleting material when compared with carbon.

I was in Montego Bay last year and heard the ad campaign 'Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica' and it was great. The problem was, I did not see one garbage can for me to throw my garbage in. As someone working in the waste management field, who is environmentally aware, I took my waste with me, only to throw it into a can containing other material than could be recycled.


Paul Lyons