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Recycling our waste problem

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Because that’s what we do: we recycle our waste problems, not our waste. As an ominous cloud of toxic smoke enveloped the city, citizens reacted in horror. You’d swear that this was the first time the city was under siege from the insidious output of the garbage dump at the Beetham. 


Do not to confuse the words “landfill” and “dump.” The “La Basse” is most certainly a garbage dump. A landfill site is typically lined with materials (such as clay) to limit the leaching into watercourses of hazardous substances manifested through the decomposition of organic waste. There are also inorganic leachates to worry about. 


In a landfill there are also control measures to prevent the inadvertent or deliberate disposal of hazardous chemical agents. In most instances a landfill site has a finite lifespan. Waste materials are routinely buried and in more developed countries, after the location has reached its capacity, it is rehabilitated for other uses. What we have got at the Beetham is a dump, full stop. 


When I was on the board of the Environmental Management Authority I inquired on our disposal of white waste (refrigerators, stoves and other electronic household appliances). I was told that they are simply deposited at the Beetham dump. The image as conveyed to me was row upon row of fridges and stoves in the dump. Like some sort of horrid appliance store. Instead of sales attendants, there are hundreds of garbage pickers and squadrons of bellicose corbeaux.


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