The Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority (SLSWMA) will be seeking financial assistance from government to repair the electrical system at the Deglos landfill.
This announcement was made by Chairman of the SLSWMA Sylvester Clauzel during a press conference at the Government Information Service (GIS) today, July 10.
Clauzel said: “The Authority is making an urgent attempt to obtain an advance of funds to undertake the necessary improvements and repairs to the electrical system at Deglos that will allow the new shredder to be put into operation.”
The chairman said he’s optimistic that the SLSWMA will obtain these funds. He said works could be completed within four weeks.
The accumulation of hundreds of used tyres at the landfill has been a major concern for residents and is blamed for breeding mosquitoes in the area. The breakdown of two small tyre shredders has been blamed for the pile-up of tyres.
Clauzel explained that the Authority had purchased a high-capacity shredder in early 2012 to deal with the pile-up.
“Unfortunately, the installation of this new machine requires very costly new electrical installations at Deglos for which the Authority, despite its best efforts, has not been able to allocate the necessary funds without seriously compromising its contractual commitments to general waste collection and disposal throughout the island.”
He admitted that the SLSWMA is cash-strapped and is burdened by “current and historical” financial obligations. According to the chairman, this issue was brought to the attention of the Cabinet of Ministers, who agreed to improve the revenue flow of the Authority. However, Clauzel said that this will take some time to take effect.
The Authority is currently in discussion with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Carbon War Room to implement a solution that will see the shredded tyres and other waste at the Deglos and Vieux Fort landfills converted into electricity. The intention is to have this fed into the national electricity grid and sold to LUCELEC. This move is aimed towards creating more revenue for the Authority and extending the life of both landfills.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the Deglos landfill being a mosquito-breeding ground, Clauzel said there is no scientific evidence to prove that mosquitoes there are causing the spread of chikungunya. However, the Ministry of Health, in its chikungunya educational campaigns, has been calling on citizens to rid their communities of old tyres and other articles that might contain water that will breed mosquitoes.
However, Clauzel said the concern about the stockpile of tyres breeding mosquitoes is not a new problem. He said the SLSWMA has used fogging machines to deal with the mosquito population there.
“These efforts no longer appear to be yielding the usual results as we have been informed by pest control experts that overtime, the mosquitoes eventually become immune to these pest control chemicals,” Clauzel added.
Nevertheless, the Authority plans to implement a new pest management programme to monitor the mosquito populations at the landfill. A professional pest control operator has been hired to assist with this undertaking.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlin Fredrick recently responded to concerns raised by residents regarding the pile-up of tyres at the Deglos landfill.
She told St Lucia News Online (SNO): “The Ministry of Health acknowledges the concern and we are working with the St. Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority (SLSWMA) to resolve the issue in the shortest possible time. Given the corresponding increases in the mosquito population with the onset of the rainy season, coordinated strategies to contain the spread of attendant diseases is critical.”
The SLSWMA said it has received interest from persons locally and overseas to repair the shredder and shred the tyres.