Tackle island trash - not overseas waste’
Bermuda should tackle its domestic plastic problem before it imports the material to fuel the island’s waste-to-energy plant, a Shadow Minister said last night.
Trevor Moniz, the One Bermuda Alliance spokesman on public works, said trash that blighted the country should be focused on before it was brought in from overseas.
Mr Moniz was speaking after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, revealed last month that Government is examining the importation of plastic waste to burn in the Tynes Bay Incinerator.
Colonel Burch added the move could generate revenue for the country as well as electricity.
But Mr Moniz said: “Everyone sees the vast amount of plastic deposited under our hedges, on the Railway Trail and on our roads and sidewalks. Perhaps Government could focus on collecting that first?
“Generating more electricity is a good idea but we need to see more details of how Government plans to increase the number of streams from Tynes Bay.
“There are three streams from the incinerator to Belco but we have only usually used one. Are there plans to utilise another stream?
“We also need to know what the extra revenue the Minister talks about will be used for. Will it be used to pay off the horrendous debt that previous PLP Governments built up?”
Mr Moniz pointed out that China, which recycled about half of the world’s plastic and paper waste, said last year it no longer wanted to be the “world’s garbage dump”.
China imposed a ban on the importation of plastic and paper waste from January.
Mr Moniz asked if Bermuda wanted to be “the world’s garbage dump” instead.
He said: “I am not sure that is a good look for Bermuda. I am also unsure about potential public health risks of burning more plastic.
“Plastics matter cannot be destroyed, only changed in form, so where will the end product of burning plastic end up?”
Colonel Burch also announced last month that five new trash trucks should be on the island by November and that “once a week garbage collection will continue until at least year end”.
But Mr Moniz said: “We are now into the hot summer months and the peak of our tourism season. The health risks posed by trash left out at this time of year are far greater than over the winter.”
In response, a ministry spokeswoman said Colonel Burch had “extensively” addressed the once-weekly collection schedule.
She added: “In fact, the ministry notes that since the revised schedule was introduced, the ministry has seen a levelling off the amount of waste collected when compared with last year’s twice a week figures.
“One of the significant benefits of this new scheduling is the reliability factor and consistent collection of waste on the day scheduled. Concurrently the ministry points out that there has been a steady increase in those using the Tynes Bay public household waste drop off.
“In fact, the ministry announced just this week that Tynes Bay has extended its public drop off hours for household waste. Alternatively if members of the public do not wish to use the extended drop off hours, they are encouraged to store their trash in waste bins until their collection day.
“Of course, with the summer months upon us there is an increase in the amount of garbage produced, with a peak over the Cup Match weekend. The Minister confirmed that collection for those two days will occur on Saturday August 4.
“And following the holiday, on August 6, the Ministry reminds that there will be some minor adjustments to the collection schedule for some areas.”
The collection adjustments were listed as:
• Monday collection: the easternmost boundary will move from Church Road to Waterlot on Middle Road, to Sinky Bay on South Shore Road;
• Tuesday collection: from Cobbs Hill Road, Ess Hill to Southcote Road;
• Wednesday, from Trimingham Hill to Tee Street;
• Thursday, from Tee Street to Devils Hole;
• The Friday collection zone remains the same.
A map of the new boundaries will be published to advise of the changes.
The spokeswoman added: “As it relates to plastics, the ministry is seeking to put in place the best and most energy efficient practices.
“Plastic is considered an ideal fuel for Tynes Bay which turns waste into energy.
“The public can be assured that the Ministry of Public Works is committed to ensuring sustainable solutions aimed at preserving and protecting our community and our environment.”