Future of rubbish still messy

| 27/07/2011

(CNS): Despite the release of a request for proposals to manage the country’s rubbish in September 2010, the future of waste management in the Cayman Islands remains unresolved some ten months later.  The US firm Wheelabrator was selected after going through the central tendering process as the government’s preferred bidder in December 2010 but Mount Trashmore continues to grow. The decision by the premier to allow Dart to take ownership of the landfill and establish a new waste-management site in Bodden Town has further delayed the government’s attempts to address one of Cayman’s longest running problems. (Photo by Kerry Horek)

It now appears to be settled as part of the Dart deal with government (the FORCayman Alliance) that the developer will take ownership of the dump and eventually cap and remediate the enormous pile of rubbish in exchange for a new waste site in Bodden Town – but when this will happen and how the new site will be managed remains messy. 

The current UDP government had, during the election campaign before coming to office in May 2009, promised to address the dump. It had stated, like the previous administration, that it believed the best way of tackling the existing dump and managing future rubbish was through a waste-to-energy solution. It was said that mining the current landfill for combustible material that could be turned into energy was the least expensive and most effective way of both reducing Mount Trashmore and decreasing its future growth. 

The dump is the highest point on Grand Cayman and is one of the first things that cruise passengers see from the deck of their liners as well as observant tourists driving on the Harquail Bypass from the airport to their Seven mile Beach accommodation. With the government’s change of plan, however, the dump will remain in its present state until the new facility at Bodden Town is established and a new waste-management and collection system is created to take garbage to the new site. Dart will only be able to begin the complex and long term project to cap and remediate the enormous rubbish pile once the new waste facility is functioning and garbage is diverted there.

The question of who will be operating and managing that new site is still a mystery. Questions to government remain unanswered and Dart has stated on a number of occasions that aside from providing the land and the basic infrastructure for the new waste management site it will not be operating the facility.

UDP West Bay representative, Cline Glidden, recently stated that the new facility would not include a waste-to-energy (WTE) component and would be focused on recycling and composting. As WTE experts that had bid on a project which included the contents of the existing dump, it is unlikely that Wheelabrator will now wish to take the contract which has changed considerably from the original RFP circulated close toa year ago.

It is also understood that DECCO had submitted a proposal during the original RFP last year, which had been rejected by the technical committee because of the proposal to move the dump to the central wetlands in the Bodden Town area.

Government has not yet said what it intends to do about the future management of the new landfill. It could elect to continue operating garbage collection and process through the Department of Environmental health. However, if it chooses to have a private sector entity manage the new landfill it will require a new RFP and central tender selection process.

Recently, the DoEH also announced that it had hired a waste management expert in order to assist with the development of a WTE facility at the GT dump and to work with Wheelabrator once they took over the management. Dr Maysson Sallam has over 15 years’ experience in solid waste management and in the release circulated at the end of June, just after government’s announcement that the new landfill would be moving to Bodden Town, the DoEH director Roydell Carter said Sallam was already assisting the department to get the new waste-to-energy project on stream.

Carter told CNS that the release had been written before government’s announcement, making it clear that the director had not been informed of government’s change of plan. He pointed out, however, that Sallam had waste-to energy experience, which the government could utilize should that option become part of the plan in the future.

Considered for many years as one of Cayman’s major problems to be resolved by most civil society groups and the public at large, the decision to move the landfill has further delayed the country’s waste management solution. The toxins from the ever-growing Mount Trashmore continue to leach into the North Sound and there seems to be no sign of a time line for when the islands’ messy trash issue will be properly addressed.

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  1. Kirkey says:

    I think we need big oven to burn the Mount Trasmore and make power. CUC charge lot of dollar for they power need some oter way. Build big smokestack like they does in Usa to send smoke somewhere else and kepp our cayman air fresh. If i get some cheap power i am dial up my air condition and keep my room real cool.

  2. rexrankine says:

    I read with interest “ Future of Rubbish still messy” to my mind, this situation will remain status quo as long as incompetent, egotistical, and non-decisive leaders govern us.

    The current Government as well as successive Governments are, and have been for years, fully aware of the negative environmental impact to the Island, and more specifically to the North Sound the leaching from Mount Trashmore is causing, however, despite this knowledge, their failure to remedy the situation continues to drag on.

    The Waste To Energy proposal which I understand would essentially convert the  waste at the new site into electricity, and which in turn could be connected to the grid and sold to CUC, in effect lowering the cost of electricity to the end users seems to have been totally ignored for no good reason,  except for perhaps ignorance of the significance of going green mixed with an element of greed. It would seem to me that if we can destroy a significant portion of the municipal solid waste and have a recycling program in place at the new site, there would never be a repeat of Mount Trashmore and one further step forward in cleaning up our environment.

  3. Darrel Evans Jr says:

    This is a perfect example ofan appropriate time to hold a PUBLIC forum where everyone with all there ideas can come togther put there ideas out there have them criticized new ideas birthed and by the end of what may be a 2 day process there would be some action plan as far as international contacts that have to be made or heck we might have all we need already. ONE of the problems here is this is mountain of an undertaking which everyone knows we need to address this as a island wide problem if you ask me this thing is in everyones back yard. Everyone you speak to has diffrent ideas of what should be done about this landfill and we not (us) but (them) have deliberatley kept this issue isolated from international potential clients because they have one now and it will be 'taken care of' when it fits his business model. come the H*** on guys lets do this man MEETING/action plan/ ACTION. p.s. i am not speaking of no little community centre for a meeting i'm talking somewhere like the cruise ship terminal in town open venue plenty of mics and referees .

    it is diplorable to know that men with vision never get the chance to throw there weight around it is only people that can only see into others pockets that do. (from the early 80's one of our last potential INDEPENDENT candidates addressed the then goverment about a company that was willing to take on the landfill) what happen goverment said  'we got this' but thanks; nothing has changed since now look what they 'got' 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Plans for garbage are rubbish.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Of course there will be no "Waste to Energy" component in the new dump. Why would government allow our garbage to be turned into useable energy when it makes 75 cents per gallon tax on  imported diesel fuel? Going green would not benefit the current shortsighted administration.

  6. Just Commentin' says:

    Speaking of managing rubbish: If a contractor is appointed to haul off all the worthless garbage, I should hope that the scope of work includes our sitting Parliament which is a much worse pile of stinking refuse and a bigger blight on these islands than Mount Trashmore ever could be.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The acquisition of the dump by Bodden Town is Mark and John John's only major (but negative) accomplishment for their term.

    Bodden Towners will oust Mark and John John come next election…..and Tony must go too…..contributing nothing Tune Tune !!!

    • Please Remediate says:

      I think it is completely unacceptable and SHAMEFUL of Dart Inc to not be remediating the dump and instead simply clearning it and capping it and landscaping. 


      This means that all of the toxins in the ground below the dump will not be removed and will continue to leech into the North Sound, our water table, drinking water and environment in general.


      Dart – do you really want to skip this very important step ?  Do you really want to have to explain to your future home buyers that they are buying into a toxic town? That could have been much less toxic?


      Other bidders for this project proposed to remediate the dump!

      This must be done and there should be no deal until this is included. 


      • CaymanFisting says:

        Contracts are contracts don't blame Dart for the inability of the clowns we have in office to ensure the stability of our ecosystem….look to the j*****s granting corporations contracts which destruct our reefs, districts, shorelines, former capitals, etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        People, do your research thoroughly. Remediation IS a part of the plan for the Landfill.

    • BORN FREE says:

      Because of the mess with mount trashmore, the fiasco with the dock involving GLF & the chinese, the confusion with proposed dredging in the north Sound & the oil refinery, the massive opposition to the East End quarry/port,  the concerns about the proposed West Bay road closure, & the embarrassment of the police investigation into the premier, I would actually say that it is the future of theUDP that looks messy, not necessarily the "future of rubbish still messy" even though some would say that that is one & the same (ie: rubbish & UDP)!

    • Anonymous says:

      How nice of you to speak for the voters of the entire district. Perhaps you also are a candidate, are you on the radio?

  8. Anonymous says:

    For a second I thought this post was about Dr. Frank's new talkshow.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the No.1 person in charge of Mount Trashmore did not know what the plans were, may the good Lord truly help us all…

  10. anonymous says:

    I live at Midland Acres.  Cline Glidden and the rest of theUDP can put the dump in their own backyards along with all the other garbage they have created!

  11. R.U. Kiddin says:

    This whole mess seems to be the result of years of indecision and inactivity by our fearless leaders. (Dare I include stupidity?)  Anyone with a minimum of foresight would have seen this coming and acted.  O.K., Fearless Leaders……….. How about working together and coming up with a sensible plan! 

    • Anonymous says:

      mt trashmore is a monument to the incompetence of caymanian politicians

    • truth says:

      Plans, like rules and laws, only work when they are followed.  Caymanians have put the future of their country in the hands of an proven failure that is only thinking of himself.  The only real questions is what else did they expect???  How about expecting more of the same lame excuses and no answers.  XXXX More of the same first class 5 star mini vacations for the Premeir and his tribe.  And no hope of a good future for the Caymanian and expat people who call Cayman home.  And thats the truth.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully the "Save Cayman" group will awaken from their slumber and take up this issue. It is the greatest danger to the North Sound at this time.

    How this issue can be ignored by anyone who cares about the North Sound escapes me.

  13. Anonymous says:

    another 'soon come' story, the incompetence of this administration is staggering…..

    well done to cns for following up on this

  14. truth says:

    The main problem in Cayman is that  they have been doing things the stupid way so long it is now considerd normal.  If all projects fail its normal.  If all ministries fail its normal.  If the Premeir fails in everything he does then he is normal.  If the police fail to curb crime its normal.  Cayman is the way it is and always will be because here it is expected that anything started by Caymanians will fail.  The islands motto should be "SOON FAIL"  The only way to change things is to get some one else to do it and let them do it their way.  But then again as the past has shown many times they always fail to let them.