Friday 7th March, 2008

 

Cabinet approves plan for cleaner T&T

 
 
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Hazel Manning

BY ANTHONY MILNE

NEW waste collection, transportation and disposal strategies outlined by the Local Government Ministry were approved yesterday by Cabinet.

It should mean a cleaner T&T, if all goes as planned.

“Cabinet yesterday approved a municipal solid waste management policy, plan of action, and contractual extensions for existing garbage collectors from March 1, 2008, to February 28, 2009,” Local Government Minister Hazel Manning told yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

She said the draft policy document for solid waste management “takes a comprehensive approach to detailing a path forward for T&T.”

It forms the necessary framework and strategies for developing and implementing a sustainable solid waste management system in T&T.

Manning said the policy outlined the mechanism for implementation and was structured around a vision, goals, objectives, policy measures and guidelines for contracting the private service providers.

“The policy objectives include the management of waste in a manner that would protect the environment and integrate waste management systems in a cost-effective manner.”

It should also encourage waste generators to take responsibility for the environment, and therefore to practise environmentally-sound disposal.

“The policy framework advocates greater private sector involvement in solid waste management and it sets out the procedure for identifying, collecting, contracting, monitoring and evaluating private service providers in solid waste management,” Minister Manning stressed.

A technical steering committee, comprising permanent secretaries and other key representatives from several government ministries and agencies, has been appointed by Cabinet to drive the main objectives of the policy framework.

While the Local Government Ministry’s main responsibility was with waste collection, its strategic partners were to deal with transportation and disposal issues.

“We are, therefore, adopting an integrated approach in order to ensure that all stakeholders and their interests are addressed appropriately,” Manning declared.

“To this end, a comprehensive report will be compiled over the next six weeks.”

Along with the policy framework, Cabinet has also approved an action plan entitled “The Revision of the Solid Waste System for Trinidad and Tobago.”

This takes a phased approach to the collection and disposal of waste, which will consist of characterisation of the waste and separation of waste—for example, paper and plastics and glass from biodegradables—and the recycling and industrialisation of the waste. There are to be demonstration projects in all 14 municipal corporations.

“The Local Government Ministry, together with corporations and other key stakeholders, will take the lead in short, medium and long-term activities,” Manning said.