Solid waste continues to be a risk to Guyana and the Ministry of Communities is moving ahead with its solid waste management strategy to curb it. The Ministry unveiled its updated Draft Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy for discussions with various stakeholders, on Wednesday at Regency Hotel on Hadfield Street.
The updated strategy has three main components which are – sustainable waste reduction and management strategy, operational standard procedures and background information and analysis of Guyana’s solid waste sector.
Consultant, Samuel Wright said the team is working to equip all regions with draft solid waste management plans before the end of the year. The objectives of the updated strategy are; a cleaner environment, better public health protection and enhanced economic opportunity. Some of the goals include a cessation in littering and illegal dumping, increasing the numbers of stiff penalties and identifying and monitoring dumping hot spots among others.
Wright explained that the Integration Solid Waste Management Strategy was to be implemented after the enactment of the solid waste management draft bill which was developed in 2014 but was not approved by Cabinet.
“There is a space between Cabinet’s decision and the Ministry’s response which would come after consultations. But solid waste management is crucial and must be addressed now… we do have a 2017 – 2030 solid waste management strategy under the theme “Putting waste in its place” in Guyana, but there is progressive implementation of the strategy.
He emphasised the need for these consultations and urged persons to participate in expediting the application of the strategy.
Meanwhile, Head of the Sanitation Management Unit, e Ministry of Communities, Gordon Gilkes said improper solid waste management is detrimental to human health and the environment. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to improve this policy which is relevant to crucial development priorities.
Gilkes explained that poor waste handling together with uncontrolled waste dumping can pollute water, attract rodents and insects, increase greenhouse gas and increase floods due to blocked drains.
“The strategy proposes an integrated approach to addressing the solid waste management crisis countywide. It is intended as a call to action and provides a road map for the institutional support, regulatory framework, appropriate technologies community awareness and involvement, financing, management indicators etcetera. That will aid in the integration of a sustainable waste management system towards a circular economy,” Gilkes explained.
Stakeholders attending included the Mayor and City Council, National Parks Commissions, Environmental Protection Agency, Guyana Tourism Authority, National Task Force-Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Puran Brothers, Central Housing and Planning Authority and among several others.
The Ministry has held over 30 consultations to date in all ten administrative regions and hopes to finalise the strategy before the end of 2017. (DPI)