100 A Day Landfill Scavengers

Tall Pines MP Don Saunders hosted a town hall meeting at Garvin Tynes Primary School to hear from constituents impacted by landfill fires. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Tall Pines MP Don Saunders hosted a town hall meeting at Garvin Tynes Primary School to hear from constituents impacted by landfill fires. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff


Tribune Chief Reporter


ENVIRONMENTAL Health is reviewing bids for a new security firm to guard the New Providence Landfill, according to Director of Environmental Health Services Melanie McKenzie, who revealed that the previous firm’s contract ended with the last budget cycle.

Mrs McKenzie underscored security as a major concern for officials as the unlit 225 acre site was frequented daily by more than 100 scavengers, who look for scrap and burn wires that can potentially spark dump fires.

She also pointed to the accumulation of more than 300,000 tyres on the site as she spoke during a town hall meeting at Garvin Tynes Primary School organised by Tall Pines MP Don Saunders on Wednesday night.

The meeting was attended by some 100 area residents, who voiced concerns about their proximity to the landfill and its management, and responsibility for health issues arising from the massive fires at the site earlier this year and in recent years.

“As you know the landfill is not closed off,” Mrs McKenzie said. “So you can access the landfill by foot from Fire Trail Road, from Milo Butler Highway, from Harrold Road and many people do. Every single day that we go there we have on a daily basis at least 100 people we’re running, every day. And they never leave, so you’re doing this constantly.”

She continued: “We had engaged a private firm, and, of course, the budget ended and we could not retain them any longer. The government has given approval for us to retain a private firm from 6pm to 6am in the morning. Those tenders have been put out, we have done evaluation but we have not yet selected.”

In June, an environmental activist raised concerns over the alleged stoppage of the compacting of waste material deposited at the New Providence Landfill, charging that such inaction leaves the site “vulnerable” to yet another massive fire.

However, Mrs McKenzie maintained this week that compacting continues at the Harrold Road site.

“Our major initiative is the active face (at the landfill) it is where everything happens,” she said.

“It’s where you find your scavengers, people disposing of what they ought not dispose. It’s where we concentrate all manpower. We try very hard to compact everyday.”


John 1 year, 9 months ago

At one point, here or there, government will have to impose a ban on used tires. While they may be affordable and help consumers through hard times, the useful life of these tires are very short and they continue to fill up the landfill because there is no useful life for them. It is doubful that tires are even retreaded any more after failures of retreaded tires led to very serious and fatal accidents in the US. Then there is the concern about out-dated, contaminated and otherwise discarded food stuffs making their way back into the food supply chain. At one point Bahamians were assured that any discarded canned good, frozen meats or other packaged foods were immediately destroyed once it arrives at the landfill. But with the change in management who is to say that discarded foodstuffs do not make their way back to someones kitchen table or dinner plate. And one time it was alleged that persons who sold breakfast and lunch from vehicles were purchasing some of their food supplies from dump scavengers. Even some that sold school lunches. This is what led to a crack down at the dump.


killemwitdakno 1 year, 9 months ago

The scavengers should learn to use SCRAP YARDs who might allow them to hunt.

Charge shops and scrap metal persons a few bucks to browse for the day. No burning allowed.

Then more persons will probably offer accepting trash and forwarding to the landfill.


bahamas12345 1 year, 9 months ago

We need to stop taking the garbage from the Cruise Ships. The island generates more than enough garbage due to non recycling and all the plastic and Styrofoam containers. Almost everyday you see dumpsters coming from the cruise ship dock.


John 1 year, 9 months ago


Not only garbage, but cruise ships also leave their sewerage here and at most ports they visit. Some 'neutralized' water is dumped into the ocean but the raw sewerage is left here. So they load up on their supplies in their home port but leave their garbage and sewerage behind.


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