Riverton City, other dump sites to close - Holness
Firefighters battle a fire at the Riverton City dumpsite in Kingston. The Riverton City disposal sitehas already reached capacity and receives more than 1,000 tonnes of solid waste every day.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Government is moving ahead with plans to close the fire-prone Riverton City dump in St Andrew as well as other waste disposal sites across the island in a major overhaul of how the country’s solid waste is managed.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement of the pending decommissioning of Jamaica’s most famous dump site during Friday’s special joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives to mark Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence.

Holness told the House that his administration has undertaken a comprehensive review of the country’s public sanitation, garbage collection and waste disposal system which he acknowledged was a “perennial problem for Jamaica”.

“We now have a plan which will see greater private sector participation in waste collection, the introduction of waste-to-energy conversion, the commissioning of new and properly built disposal sites and the decommissioning of various dumps including the Riverton City dump,” the prime minister said.

He said that by September he will be having discussions with the Member of Parliament for St Andrew Western, Anthony Hylton, in whose constituency the waste disposal site is located. Holness has promised to fully brief Hylton on the plans and to “secure his support for the plans”.

The prime minister said dialogue was necessary as the country’s dump sites provide a source of revenue for some people.

“Just to be clear, this is something that the political class will have to work together on. It’s not simply a matter of saying we’re closing down Riverton City dump, people depend on it for their economic survival, people live around (the facility),” said Holness.

The Riverton facility has for many years been a thorn in the sides of many Corporate Area residents who live in close proximity to the dump site. Numerous fires over the years have sent black toxic smoke billowing across many communities, worsening respiratory problems for some people. The dump has been known to burn for more than a week on some occasions costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to extinguish the blaze.

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