Santa Rosa seeking help to tackle solid waste as tourism looms

Garbage being improperly disposed at Santa Rosa

The indigenous community of Santa Rosa situated in the Moruca sub-region in Region One (Barima-Waini) is seeking help to tackle solid waste. This is as the community aims at exploring its tourism potential.

Santa Rosa is one of the eleven title villages in Moruca. It is the most populated village with a population of between 10,000 to 12,000 persons.

The main economic activity at Santa Rosa is small-scale commerce backed up by small-scale farming and fishing.

The community has experienced accelerated development over the past few years. According to Santa Rosa Village Council Secretary Morris Torres this started with the construction of the Kumaka Bridge.

Apart from that a small portion of the road network was recently upgraded.

Secretary of the Santa Rosa Village Council, Morris Torres

“Then recently there was the construction of a 500-meter road network – the government concreted the road. This eased a lot of burdens because the road was very dusty previously. One of the things that I mentioned to Minister Nigel Dharamlall during one of his visits is that covid come and COVID go but people will still be wearing masks because of the dust on the road when the cars pass,” Torres said.

However, the management of solid waste is a problem affecting the community.

According to Torres, who is also one of the senior councilors for Santa Rosa Islands which is one of the satellites in Santa Rosa, littering is one of the issues affecting the community.
Torres said the council is currently engaging the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) to get approval for a waste disposal site.

“Through the grapevine, we have got the green light already. There is the SGF or LGP French grant and we are applying for that between $1M and $10M. We are working on the concept note for that so that we can have the grant approved and we can develop the waste disposal site,” he said.

The community is also seeking a second grant to purchase a garbage truck. Currently, they are working on the sustainability plan for the second grant and addressing the issue of awareness.

“Santa Rosa is moving in the direction of tourism and to attract tourists you can’t have the place being littered; it would not be a tourist attraction. The first step is the keep the environment clean and then we move to tourism.”

The bridge over the Moruca River in Santa Rosa

Currently, solid waste management is done with the aid of tractors.

The community has eight tractors and trailers operated by Community Support Officers (CSO), who would collect solid waste in the community.

“They receive a stipend of $30,000. So, they only work in the morning hours or in the afternoon hours. So, if we need them to come out after those four hours, the Village Council or area council would have to find money to pay them,” Torres explained.

The tractors are mostly engaged in commercial work, which earns revenue for the village.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that more roads to be developed.

The lack of adequate recreational facilities also needs to be addressed.

“One of the things that have been affecting us is the tremendous alcohol and drug abuse. We have a few people walking around who seem to be suffering from mental illness and they are a menace to society.”

Torres said he took full advantage of the opportunity he had and raised those concerns with government ministers.

He is confident that those issues will be addressed since the aim of their interaction was to see what assistance government can provide for the community.

There are five grounds in the community but they all need to upgrade. Torres noted that players from as far as the Pomeroon go to Santa Rosa to play cricket.

“We have several playgrounds and those grounds need to be upgraded. The youths are really fascinated by sports. Sports really bring people together in Mourca with all of the challenges and differences with politics and religion it does cause some challenges but sports unit the people in Santa Rosa Village,” Torres pointed out.