By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A MODERN transfer waste station is being developed through the J&G Pavers accelerated project in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, for proper and efficient debris management in that community.
The Disaster Reconstruction Authority has engaged Abaco-based J&G Pavers Limited to manage the debris site.
According to a press statement released by DRA, J&G Pavers launched its accelerated project on May 10 and has hired workers and acquired equipment and other necessary resources for the waste management operation.
“For this venture, the company will prioritise the use and rental of equipment already based in Abaco, hire Green Turtle Cay residents and always utilise all the cay’s resources,” the statement noted.
Additionally, the company plans to introduce wood recycling, donate a new trash collection vehicle to their partners at the Department of Environmental Health, beautify the grounds surrounding their facility and maintain security.
In addition to the unsightly appearance of the waste site, there is an issue with rodents, flies, pigs, and other scavengers in the area.
Hired workers semi-sort the waste and utilise equipment to remove debris spilled onto the road. The company has also commenced a non-toxic spraying programme using all-natural neem, citronella, and rosemary oils to effectively reduce the number of flies at the site.
J&G Pavers has installed a temporary barge ramp and piles to access the cay during high or low ocean tide. This also enabled the transporting of debris and garbage through the cay without impacting operations at the nearby Green Turtle Cay Club.
They have also significantly improved efficiency, allowing hauling and barging to take place for 12 to 14 hours a day, and completed the process in just two weeks compared to the previous eight to nine weeks.
According to the DRA, the company used four to six roll off trucks to further expedite the project.
“Now that the site has returned to some sense of normalcy, hauling and debris removal will continue at the traditional pace over the next four weeks,” a DRA spokesman said.
During those four weeks, the company will create a temporary “responsible dumping” area for residents to allow garbage collection trucks to throw the trash into marked dumpsters according to the type of debris.
They will mark boundary points and confirm layout/points for transfer station pre-planning; progress environmental approval for permanent dock access; and provide a large bin to the Green Turtle Club.
Green Turtle Cay residents are pleased about the transformation of the waste transfer site.
“You could see the big change,” one resident said. “The front looks good. There is now grass where grass never was seen before; there’s no smoke from the constant burning and I like how they are crushing it up in pieces rather than the whole. The locals could see what’s going on and we appreciate that.”
Property manager and Fire Department volunteer Julie Farrington said that before the change it was really bad.
“The worst thing was seeing all the trash that kept blowing across the street and it was everywhere and very dangerous for vehicles. Right now, it looks so much better when you pass,” she said.
Principal/teacher Sara Roberts, of Amy Roberts Primary School, said before Hurricane Dorian the waste site was not in the best shape.
She said: “The difference at the site in the last few weeks has been incredible and hopefully that can continue.”
Sarah Sams, Pineapples Restaurant owner and life-long Green Turtle Cay resident, is relieved that burning at the dump – a practice that had occurred since she was a child - has now ceased.
“The trash smells and was burned weekly near a harbour, resorts, and lots of homes that were not safe,” she said. “Now, the new group is doing a good job and there seems to be an improvement.”
Green Turtle Cay Foundation board member and realtor Giselle McIntosh was also very impressed with how the new contractor was able to accomplish in a short period.
“They’ve moved a lot of debris that was there and made it look very nice from the outside which is important since visitors pass the area. I hope the site continues to get cleaned up where it can be managed properly. The island is growing so quickly in terms of tourism, and it is now looking like it was Pre-Dorian and once they continue to remove waste from the island and not burn it like we were doing previously, the island will be an even better place,” she said.
After viewing the project, Katherine Smith, DRA managing director, is satisfied with the work that has already been completed.
“If J&G Pavers continues phases one, two, and three of this project, I think Green Turtle Cay residents will be very satisfied with the work that has been put in to eliminate the island’s debris and municipal waste,” she said.
“While there is a lot of work to be done, J&G Pavers has committed to working with the community to achieve their goal. This isn’t an easy fix as there is a lot of debris from Dorian and a lot of legacy waste that has been on the cay for quite some time, so there’s still much more work to complete.”