Waste man­age­ment plan long over­due

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Res­i­dents of Trinity and Con­cep­tion Bays should be en­cour­aged to learn they will be able to get rid of their bulk waste ma­te­ri­als closer to home when new waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­i­ties are set up around the Avalon Penin­sula and East­ern New­found­land.

Ap­pli­ances, fur­ni­ture, shin­gles, tires and con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion waste are among the bulk items that could be dis­posed of at these sites.

Five fa­cil­i­ties are al­ready in op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing one at Old Per­li­can, and five more, in­clud­ing ones at Har­bour Grace, Cavendish and Whit­bourne are ex­pected to be up and run­ning by next sum­mer.

The move should be wel­comed by all those who have had to cart such items to the re­gional waste fa­cil­ity at Robin Hood Bay.

Since the clo­sure of the smaller re­gional waste fa­cil­ity at Har­bour Grace more then a decade ago, we all know what has hap­pened. In­stead of tak­ing the longer and more costly route to Robin Hood Bay, many, too many have opted for the shorter one - to the near­est wooded area be­hind towns and com­mu­ni­ties through­out the re­gion.

While those who have been prac­tic­ing in such il­le­gal dump­ing in the re­gion may have saved a buck, it has come at the ex­pense of some­thing that is price­less - our once pris­tine environment.

The tragic re­sult has been the trans­for­ma­tion of our environment into a ver­i­ta­ble waste­land of garbage.

These new fa­cil­i­ties will hope­fully make it more con­ve­nient for lo­cal res­i­dents to dis­pose of bulk waste closer to home. Hav­ing to take it 100 kilo­me­tres away should no longer be an ex­cuse to dump it in the woods.

Will these sites help re­duce the prob­lem of il­le­gal dump­ing in the re­gion? Or is that too much wish­ful think­ing on the part of those of us who give a damn about our environment?

What’s that say­ing? We didn’t in­herit our environment from our an­ces­tors to do with it what­ever we want; we only bor­row it from fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. We have no right to dam­age and de­stroy it.

To date some 30 land­fills have been closed through­out the re­gion, and the re­main­ing 12 are ex­pected to be shut down by next year or 2013.

Let’s not for­get the im­por­tant role to be played by curb­side re­cy­cling in re­duc­ing the amount of waste ac­tu­ally go­ing to land­fills. Ap­prox­i­mately half the res­i­dents of the East­ern Re­gion al­ready have ac­cess to curb­side re­cy­cling. It is en­cour­ag­ing to see grow­ing in­ter­est among lo­cal com­mu­nity lead­ers to get on board and take part in this worth­while pro­gram.

The long-awaited plan for waste man­age­ment in the re­gion has been in the works for years - too many years.

Now that it has been fi­nal­ized and is in the hands of govern­ment, let’s hope it doesn’t take as long to im­ple­ment as it did to de­velop and com­plete. But know­ing how painfully slow the wheels of govern­ment bureau­cracy tend to grind, per­haps it would not be wise to hold our col­lec­tive breath.

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