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Island is urged to tackle sewage

Bermuda has too dense of a population to continue disposing of sewage via untreated offshore outfalls, according to Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) chairman, Stuart Hayward.

Responding to revelations that Hamilton's Seabright sewage outfall is affecting water quality in the waters around South Shore beaches, Mr Hayward said Bermuda must “come to grips” with the amount of waste the Island generates relative to its size.

“We produce an enormous amount of waste and we have to put it somewhere. When there were fewer people dumping it overboard, the dilution factor was enough so that it didn't come back on us, and the quantity of it was less. Now what they've done with Hamilton is they've installed a pre-treatment plant where they macerate the sewage and screen it — and it's anticipated this will be diluted by the treatment plant they've installed at the new hospital — but we're still looking at Hamilton, North Hamilton, and all of that going into one single pipe that goes offshore at Seabright.

“If Bermuda was an inland community, we couldn't survive. There would be no place for all our waste to go. Because we have this ocean surrounding us, we are able to discharge our waste in ways that landlocked communities can't do,” said Mr Hayward.

“We are the victims of our own success,” he claimed, pointing out that Bermuda has “the highest density of population of any oceanic island” in the world.

“We're exceeding our carrying capacity. In the past it was out of sight, out of mind, we were able to dump it overboard or we burn it and we'd never have to think about it again. We expect Government to manage our waste, but we're adding to it all the time.”

It's time people know “what we're up against,” charged Mr Hayward.

“We rarely think of the environment for one of the key roles it plays, which is to absorb and recycle our waste, and the quantities and types of waste we're producing are outpacing the capability of our environment to cope with it.

“So we need to start the dialogue, we need to start talking more about how many people Bermuda can contain and thrive, and part of that thriving is having our waste handled in ways that don't come back to bite us, and we're not doing that at the moment.”

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority has also responded to the revelations, reported exclusively in The Royal Gazette yesterday.

“Of course, the issue of the environment is important to us, particularly when it affects tourists. We would like to review the report before we comment further,” said a spokesman.

• See full report — Related media: ‘Water Quality - 12 June'

Waves crash over the sewage outfall as it stretches out into the waters along the Paget shoreline.

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Published March 19, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 19, 2014 at 11:36 am)

Island is urged to tackle sewage

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