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No Beetham garbage

Friday, January 31 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Happy days: Children play at their homes located near the Guanapo landfill in Arima. Residents who want the dump closed say they will protest against ...
Happy days: Children play at their homes located near the Guanapo landfill in Arima. Residents who want the dump closed say they will protest against ...

Guanapo residents vow to protest if more garbage is dumped at a landfill in their community which, for years, they have demanded be closed.

They strongly object to plans by the Solid Waste Management Co Ltd (SWMCOL) to transfer the disposal of waste from the landfill at Beetham, Port-of-Spain to the site in Guanapo, Arima. On Wednesday, SWMCOL temporarily closed the Beetham landfill where a fire continues to rage spewing toxic clouds of smoke over Port-of-Spain and environs. SWMCOL said garbage that would have been dumped at the Beetham landfill will be sent to Guanapo and the Forres Park landfill in Claxton Bay.

Residents said the “life span” of the Guanapo landfill is over and they were look forward to its closure.

“This is madness in making such a move to have more garbage in our community. Not one additional garbage truck will be able to pass to get to the dump site,” Guanapo resident Nicholas Hernandez told Newsday.

“We done have health problems. They want to kill us now. We going to mobilise our fellow residents in preparation to immediately stop this unwanted action,” he said.

Among residents’ concerns are the health hazards the Guanapo dump already poses to their lives, especially children; the further deterioration of already deplorable roads; pollution and an increase in crime.

“It is going to be chaotic. It means more vehicles on the road, more garbage to a landfill site that has lived its lifespan. More accidents, increase in crime and outbreak of diseases,” he said.

He said the closure of the Beetham landfill, even on a temporary basis, could lead to persons who made a living there moving into the area.

“More people will move into the region creating an environment for fights,” he said.

Hernandez said the environment is unsanitary. “We are exposed to all kinds of sickness, one of them skin rashes which is now common on our children. Having more rubbish come to Guanapo is like wanting to kill the people up here. Why can’t they find an alternative avenue? We going to oppose this move,” he said.

Activist Gary Douglas recalled that about three years ago, residents protested for the closure of the dump because water of the were being polluted and the roads were destroyed by heavy vehicles moving in and out of the area.

“At times schoolchildren, pedestrians were soaked by mud water from the potholes on the road by the heavy vehicle travelling to the dump,” he said.

Bandon Maloney, a father of five, said, “We want the present dump to be removed for which we protested and now they want to bring more garbage. What are they telling the people of Guanapo? We stupid? We go show them we not stupid.”

Residents said closure of the Guanapo landfill had been discussed before at statutory meetings of the Arima Borough Corporation over the years but no action was taken.

Arima Mayor George Hadeed could not be reached for comment.

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