By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A well-known environmentalist activist has hailed the New Providence landfill’s takeover by a local consortium as a “great first step”, while urging the pursuit of a waste-to-energy solution.
“I think it makes sense and would be a win-win in terms of generating energy and tackling the waste streams at the site,” said reEarth president Sam Duncombe. “That is something that I would ultimately like to see happen, a waste-to-energy solution where we are using the garbage to create energy and offset the usage of fossil fuels.”
The government officially handed over the New Providence landfill to Providence Advisors and the seven-strong Waste Resources Development Group (WRDG) on Friday. The WRDG consortium, featuring Bahamian waste services providers, was selected as the preferred bidder to take over the landfill’s operations - and effect a $130m transformation of the site - in late August 2018.
The group has partnered with Ken Kerr’s Providence Advisors in a 60/40 split, and have a 10-year deal to manage the landfill. The initial $130m investment has been reduced to around $42m after the government requested that the waste-to-energy component be split out from the rest of the consortium’s plans.
Mr Kerr said on Friday that one of the main goals is to eliminate fires at the landfill. “We’re using an EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) standard that’s common in North America, which is called a cap and cover process,” he said.
“What is required as we receive the waste streams on a daily basis, we cover it with an adequate amount of top soil or cover. That way you reduce the oxygen content, you reduce the gas build-up and you reduce the opportunity for fires to occur on a daily basis.”
“It’s a great first step,” said Mrs Duncombe of the takeover. “There are a lot of issues going on there. If they can get the fires under control that would be huge. There is still a concern regarding ground water contamination. Everything is dumped there, and when these things get mixed it’s toxic. I have no idea how they intend to tackle the ground water situation but hopefully that will be addressed as well.”