RCN Editorial: Environment placed on backburner.

| 12th March 2021 | 2 Comments
Alric Lindsay. Independent Candidate for George Town South.

Sent in by: Alric Lindsay.

Although a dollar figure is not often placed on the environment, it does have a value.  The Dasgupta Report describes this as natural capital for which a natural capital accounting method should be employed. This is a departure from the normal way we measure economic progress – which is produced capital (goods and services) plus human capital.  The fact is that the environment must be a part of our “success equation” and our care for it is the only way to strengthen our position as a tourist destination in the long-term, following a safe reopening.  Protection of the environment is also necessary to ensure that something is left behind for future generations.  Sadly, such protection is constantly under threat- in some cases by rapid development by the government without an updated Development Plan or the constant rezoning of areas without an approved, long-term plan.  For example, trees and mangroves are being removed from areas where those same mangroves provided protection against floods.  Now, there is a concern regarding what could happen to our air as a waste management facility is coming online. 

DBOO (Design-Build-Own-Operate) Waste Management Facility

According to the Dart Group’s website (https://dart.ky/news/environment/the-future-of-cayman-s-trash), “the integrated solid waste management system facilities are intended to decrease the amount of waste going to the George Town Landfill by up to 95%”. In theory, this is good news.  We could reduce what goes to the landfill and avoid another Mount Trashmore.  

However, grave concerns remain as the website goes onto say that, in order “to facilitate clean emissions, waste is combusted at temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit to minimize the production of toxic byproducts such as dioxins”.  While the operator of the integrated solid waste management facility will follow international guidelines to reduce the amount of toxic gases being released into the air, it is not an exact science and we cannot determine in 100% of the cases that a dangerous substance will not be released into the air that we breathe.

Clean Air Act Needed

In order to address these concerns, I believe that a Clean Air Act must be immediately passed by the government.  This must be done BEFORE the waste management facility goes online.  We cannot afford to have situations where we wait until something bad happens and then we try to react or do damage control.  In too many cases, this happens because of a lack of planning or public consultation, or public education.  In this case, if we try to act after the horse has already left the barn, the consequences could be dire, even death.

Preferable Measures

Notwithstanding that a waste management facility could reduce 90% of the waste that may go to the landfill, there are other “green” ways to approach waste management (the least green being the piling up of garbage on the landfill).  Such measures include avoiding unnecessary waste in the first place or identifying opportunities for reuse and recycling. 

Take Action Now

If you feel that you do not have enough information about the proposed waste management facility, please contact your member of Parliament immediately and ask what his or her view is on this facility. Email, call, or write them.  Raise the question on their political platform. The public deserves to know what decisions the government is making and how those decisions could impact them.

Category: RCN Editorial Board

About the Author ()

John Fleming is the Editor in Chief at Real Cayman News. He found RCN in 2020, to be a young voice in Cayman Media. John likes to write about Politics, Current Affairs, Education, Community and Health. You can contact John at 925 5511 or john.fleming@realcaymannews.com

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Alric, I hope you win this time. I cannot vote for you but you have my support

  2. Anonymous says:

    Alric is extremely knowledgeable.

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