Category Archives: Solid Waste

$500M clean-up campaign…More equipment needed to complete work

- West Ruimveldt residents

While the authorities have noted progress made under the $500 million clean –up campaign, residents of West Ruimveldt, Georgetown say that there are insufficient tools to complete the job.

The clean-up exercise in progress at Gilhuys Square West Ruimveldt, Georgetown

Given the urgent need to restore cleanliness in the city, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development mounted a massive clean-up exercise to the clearing of  drains, main canals, parapets, alleyways, cemeteries, and rehabilitate monuments, markets and other public spaces.
Last Wednesday, a community clean-up group from Gilhuys Square, West Ruimveldt, reported that they have experienced difficulty carrying out the work in their area because of a shortage of tools. Mark Anthony Forrester, a spokesperson for the community, said that at the commencement of the project, officials of the Local Government Ministry promised to supply the residents with necessary tools to clear the area.
He said the Ministry has since donated a few cutlasses, long boots, buckets, and a wheelbarrow, but there is still need for additional equipment.
“We are trying to work with the tools that are currently available to us. Some people have been using their personal equipment to do the job but getting some of the work done is difficult without the right tools. We need additional cutlasses, wheelbarrows and a bobcat to complete this exercise.”
He noted, however, that the community group has completed a significant amount of work with the equipment made available to them.  He said that the group has since cleared the drains, parapets and alleyways from Vlissengen Road to the West Ruimveldt playfield.
“I have about thirty-five persons working with me, both males and females from the community. We are getting a stipend from the Ministry, but we are not doing it for the money, it is our community and we want to make sure that we do our best,” he added.
Forrester said the group has approximately ten days to complete Phase One of the project. “We have a lot more work to do and we want to begin Phase Two of the project.  The residents need more long boots, rakes, hoes, wheelbarrows and a Bobcat to complete it,” Forrester reiterated.
He said that the community has already seen the results of work.  “Ever since we cleared drains the area isn’t flooding as quickly as it would usually do.”
The man said that several attempts were made to contact the Ministry for further assistance. “We have been calling on them for the longest time but nobody has responded to us. We need the assistance which they promised as soon as possible.”
The residents of West Ruimveldt are voicing their dissatisfaction in light of reports of progress under the $500 million “Clean-Up My Country” Programme.
The Ministry of Local Government has since conducted a series of consultations under the initiative, which commenced several weeks ago.
Community work has begun in Albouystown, West Ruimveldt and Le Repentir Cemetery. Last week, alleyways and parapets in Albouystown were sanitized. In West Ruimveldt, parapets were cleared and drains within the neighborhood were de-silted. The work also included de-silting of the Sussex Street, Princes Street, Church Street, Downer and Lamaha Street canals.
At the beginning of the exercise, Community groups from around Georgetown presented proposals to the Clean-Up My Country Program Committee, outlining the areas that need to be addressed and the required budget for the communities’ sanitation.
To date, nine groups, including Albouystown, West Ruimveldt, Campbellville, Lodge, East Ruimveldt, South Ruimveldt, La Penitence, Alberttown and North Ruimveldt have submitted proposals after consultations were held in the communities.

From Mandela to Haags Bosch

Executive members of the GT Recyclers, with Minister of Local Government and Regional Development; Mr. Norman Whittaker; Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Bishop Juan Edghill; Inter-American Development Bank Country Representative, Ms. Sophie Mackonnen, and Pan-American Health Organisation Country Representative, Mr. William Adu Krow

WITH responsibility for developmental projects, Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Bishop Juan Edgill, in a ceremony yesterday, honoured the newly accredited Guyana Total Recyclers Co-operative Society Ltd., as he recalled the journey “from Mandela to Haags Bosch.”

Speaking at the Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill Site (HBSLS), Eccles, East Bank Demerara, the Minister offered congratulations to the recyclers for “overcoming all of the obstacles and challenges.”

Addressing the gathering was Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Norman Whittaker

According to Edghill, “We are sitting before a group of people who in Mandela… [were] referred to as ‘junkies.’” He added that a sense of dignity in the work, as well as recognition from the Guyanese public, has seen the GT Recyclers becoming productive members of the labour force operating under “a particular framework.”
In 2007, the Government of Guyana received a US$18.02M loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. This was utilised for the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Programme, which provided sustainable solutions to solid waste management.
According to Project Coordinator Mr. Gordon Gilkes, the Environmental Impact Assessment reflected that the solid waste plan, which would create the HBSLS, saw the “destruction of the activities of a group of persons identified as ‘Waste Pickers’”- acting individually or in small groups.
Recognising the possible implications of the closing of the Mandela dumpsite and having to move to the Haags Bosch site, the ‘waste-pickers’ were reorganised into a unified group with the intention of providing training, equipment and recognition.
The inaugural ‘show all’ event for the soon-to-be-unified GT Recyclers was their participation in the 2014 Mashramani Competition, earning them second place with a float made of recycled materials. More importantly walking away with a grand prize of public awareness.
The group subsequently applied for recognition as a cooperative society through the Ministry of Labour, and on June 30, 2014, were granted their much deserved prize as the Guyana Total Recyclers Co-operative Society Ltd.
“The organised groups were provided with hard-hats, gloves, boots, training in health and safety, medical visits for vaccination and checkups, first aid kits… supply of water for washing and assistance to obtain official documents such as ID cards, passports and birth certificates”, according to Gilkes.
Minister Edghill, stressing the importance of the Recyclers to the creating of a new culture of proper waste management and garbage disposal, urged the group to “become leaders.”
The Minister bemoaned that there is much work to be done in behavioural change, citing clean-up exercises which were conducted by Ministries and other Government Agencies that within a matter of hours, “you could find people dumping indiscriminately.”
“The fact that we are able to overcome the culture… of pulling down each other… [Instead] working with dignity to provide for themselves and their families, and organising themselves into a co-op unit, speaks volumes to what could happen to Guyana as a whole, if our people come together.”
Also speaking at the event was Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Norman Whittaker, who stated that the role of the recyclers is often clouded by “negative aspects of the implementation of this project.”
The Minister was commenting on the unwarranted stigmatisation of the recyclers as ‘junkies’. “Despite the social stigma attached to what you do, you make an honest living.”
He charged the group stating that he is better able to appreciate their contribution after he considered the “depth from which you evolved”, he added with much conviction, “Today, your jobs take on a new importance.”
Confirming the recognition of the group was Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul, who expressed the full commitment of his Ministry to ensuring that the GT Recyclers are a success story. He however cautioned that there have been many groups which have registered but have been decommissioned because they had either become defunct or dysfunctional.
He stressed to the group that there is power in numbers, stating, “your efforts collectively will be supported by my Ministry.”
Inter-American Development Bank Country Representative, Ms. Sophie Mackonnen, in her remarks, lauded the work of the GT recyclers as a “significant achievement under the Georgetown Solid Waste Management Programme supported by IDB funding.”
She noted that the group had come a far way since they began as a small action to ensure compliance with IDB social policy. “Measures were taken to ensure that the group would be able to earn at least as much money as they used to, but in an approved safe environment.”
“Public perception of the work that these men and women are doing is important… [And] we have begun to see that they are not only picking waste, they are contributing to society and their own livelihood in a meaningful way,” the IDB representative added.
From the Pan- American Health Organisation, Country Representative Mr. William Adu Krow recognised the GT recyclers as “frontier soldiers.” He noted the possible results that their actions would have on sustainability and good environmental practices.
With oversight in the health sector, the PAHO representative pointed out that “from the health perspective, we are looking at the unsanitary nature of how they went about their business and how things are now.”
With much content in the paradigm shift of the situation, Krow, summing up the shared sentiments by those in the group, noted, “I applaud the IDB for their foresight and all persons and agencies that have played a role.”

(By Derwayne Wills)

Local Government Ministry, UNDP ink US$1.5M solid waste management project agreement

Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker

Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker with United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Khadija Musa at the signing on Tuesday. (UN photo)

March 28, 2014

THE implementation of a new solid waste management project by the Local Government Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will see the issue of illegal vending being dealt with along with the rehabilitation of six municipal markets across the country. Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Norman Whittaker, signed the one-year Guyana Solid Waste Management Improvement Project with United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Khadija Musa last Tuesday.
The signing took place in the Ministry’s boardroom, Fort Street, Kingston. The US$1,568,260 project is being funded by the India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Trust Fund.
The project will see the procurement of two compactor trucks and two mini excavators, to be used at Haags Bosch Landfill Site on the East Bank of Demerara and garbage collection is expected to be enhanced countrywide, but particularly in the city.
According to Whittaker, though government has been providing much support, Guyana has not been able to rise above the challenge of solid waste management.
“It is important to note that the escalation of the problem of solid waste rose about the same time as people started to do vending on the roadsides. The two go hand in hand. So this project is welcomed,” he remarked.
Whittaker said he is happy that IBSA saw merit in the ministry’s proposal and subsequently approved it.
Musa offered that the project will provide very important equipment, logistical and otherwise, to assist within the overall plan of the government in reforming collection and waste management.
“We hope it will contribute not only to the health of people around Georgetown but that it will improve the landfill sites. One of the areas it will focus on is the market area which is really important,” she said.
Others who attended the ceremony were Brazil Ambassador Luiz Gilberto Seixas De Andrade; Acting Ambassador to Guyana, India Tirath Singh; Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Brazil Sabina Popoff; along with other UNDP and ministry officials.
By Telesha Ramnarine