River­ton land­fill moves closer to pri­vati­sa­tion with open­ing of new ac­cess roads

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer ja­son.cross@glean­erjm.com

CHAIR­MAN OF the National Solid Waste Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (NSWMA) Den­nis Chung has in­di­cated that the open­ing of two ac­cess roads lead­ing to the River­ton land­fill in St Andrew will make en­ter­ing the dis­posal site more ef­fi­cient as well as set the tone for the pri­vati­sa­tion of the coun­try’s solid waste man­age­ment sys­tem.

The ac­cess roads were of­fi­cially opened last Monday.

The open­ing cer­e­mony was held at the Power of Hope De­liv­er­ance Church in River­ton Mead­ows.

The qual­ity of life for res­i­dents is ex­pected to im­prove.

“If you’ve ever come down here be­fore to the dump, you’d un­der­stand the ac­cess prob­lem to get down here. The dirt road was un­even, and it used to cre­ate a lot of dam­age. Now, we can be a lot more ef­fi­cient in terms of ac­cess­ing the dump. It’s a part of the up­grade of the dump. When I used to tra­verse this road, it used to take me a while just to come from the en­trance to (the dump) and I am sure the time (to ac­cess the dump), has been cut by more than half,” Chung told The Gleaner.

Res­i­dents had also, in the past, com­plained about the se­ri­ous dust prob­lem they had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing as a result of the con­di­tion of the roads.

Chung high­lighted that the Lyt­tle­ton Shirley-led en­ter­prise team, set up by Prime Min­is­ter Andrew Hol­ness on Oc­to­ber 31, was re­spon­si­ble for re­view­ing all pro­pos­als made for the dump and for se­lect­ing the most suit­able op­tion.

Hol­ness had ini­tially cited plans for a waste-to-en­ergy op­er­a­tion

there, how­ever, Chung said that those plans were not def­i­nite.

“An en­ter­prise team has been set up to look at the best use be­cause we don’t know if en­ergy is the best use. It might be re­cy­cling. What we should do is trans­form this land­fill here to a First World place. I’ve seen pro­pos­als where they have hous­ing projects, and more im­por­tant, we can get peo­ple who are work­ing on the dump into for­mal employment in hy­gienic sit­u­a­tions. I es­ti­mate that it will take us two years to

get to that point, but I think it’s go­ing to be a big lift for the com­mu­nity,” Chung said.

“We are looking for any­body who wants to bid. What we are go­ing to do is to put a re­quest for pro­pos­als out, and then peo­ple will bid to ac­tu­ally get the con­tract to do it and take over the dump.”

The plan­ning of the project started in Septem­ber 2015, but the phys­i­cal as­pect of it be­gan on Jan­uary 11, 2016, with US$1.8 mil­lion fund­ing from the gov­ern­ment of Mex­ico. United Na­tions

Of­fice for Project Ser­vices (UNOPS) man­aged the project.

“UNOPS has the man­date to sup­port gov­ern­ments through project man­age­ment, in­fra­struc­ture, and pro­cure­ment ser­vices with the fo­cus on sus­tain­abil­ity and de­vel­op­ment of national ca­pac­i­ties. This project to im­prove ac­cess to the land­fill of about 1.6km of con­crete road. It aims to im­prove the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions of River­ton,” UN Res­i­dent Co­or­di­na­tor and UNDP Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Bruno Pouezat said.

NOR­MAN GRINDLEY/CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

Ce­cilia Jaber (left) Mex­ico am­bas­sador to Ja­maica; Des­mond McKen­zie (sec­ond left), min­is­ter of lo­cal gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment; Den­nis Chung (sec­ond right), chair­man, National Solid Waste Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity; and An­thony Hyl­ton, mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, in dis­cus­sion af­ter cut­ting the rib­bon to open a newly paved con­crete road yes­ter­day. The road, a gift from the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment, will give bet­ter ac­cess to the River­ton Mead­ows dump in St Andrew.

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