The Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) will be undertaking a municipal composting project that is expected to significantly boost the council’s revenue generating capacity.
In addition to the financial benefit, the project, which should take off in early July, will likely see the reduction in the wanton disposal of organic waste in the city and the expansion of the life of the sanitary landfill.
It is being spearheaded by Sanitation Director at the Georgetown Municipality, Walter Narine with groundwork set to begin after the council’s 2017 budget is read and with the requisite approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The project will initially target two municipal markets; Stabroek and Bourda and hopefully will be used as a model by the other municipalities in the very near future.
“When we would have examined the two markets; we realized that they generate on a daily basis, 25 metric tons of food waste. These are perishable cash crops which were not sold and the vendors would have discarded and tossed them out,” Narine explained.
He related that these are the types of waste that reach the landfill on a daily basis so the intention is to take 25 tons of waste and convert it into a municipal compost.
Narine revealed that the compost would then be marketed as manure/fertilizer at a minimal cost to the National Agricultural Research Extension Institute (NAREI) which is one of the primary targets, as well as to cash crop farmers.
Guyana has been having a plethora of issues in terms of entering the export market with cash crops. One of the main reasons for this is the standard requirement by international trade for crops to be free from pesticides.
“So, if we can utilise the compost, it will benefit the farmers greatly who have aspirations of doing business on the export market,” Narine detailed.
He pointed out that apart from the financial gain which the council will garner from the composting project, it is also likely to see the expansion of the lifespan of the sanitary landfill at Haags Bosch.
In a report compiled by Habeeb Khan on the composition of waste, it was highlighted that 50 percent of all waste generated in Georgetown was organic waste.
Given this reality, coupled with the fact that Haags Bosch has a life span of 15 years, Narine said that everyone stands to benefit should at least 30 percent of that waste be diverted from the landfill.
This will also reduce operational costs since moving organic waste to Haags Bosch stands at a monthly high of $1.2M.
Apart from the market waste, the compost will also include vegetation that grows on the road shoulders, sawdust, trimmed tree branches and weeds.
As it relates to the sawdust, Narine pointed out that it creates a huge problem due to its incendiary properties.
“Because when it’s stalked up in high piles, then the heat it generates within; it can easily ignite and causes big fires at the landfill. So, we can take the sawdust also the waste that pigs produce; this is highly fertile and it is dumped everyday so we will use the cow, pig and horse manure and create a true collective of the organics,” the Sanitation Director said.
The raw material will be processed daily in a fenced area by municipal employees at the Princes Street facility.
The project, in its initial phase, should provide employment for 25 persons from nearby communities to operate and manage the compost.
“We are very excited to have this project come to fruition. We have bins already at the markets so vendors will dispose of their waste there and then we will have them transported to the site,”
So, the compost is a six-week cycle. 70 metric tons of material will generate two cycles per year the global market is us$6 per pound.
It will generate a significant amount of well needed revenue for the council. We’re the only country that throws away everything.
It will cost $28m is the capital investment. The potential returns in first year is $10m minus expenses.
It has huge revenue generating potential of $87m annually utilizing waste from only two markets.
In the long term, I would eventually like to see households bringing their food scraps to the municipal compost and we pay them for it. Schools can also get involved with kitchen gardens which they sell on market day to generate revenue for the school.
Georgetown Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green, in endorsing the project, said it falls in line with government’s green agenda and the push towards a green economy.
“We are ensuring that in keeping with the President’s vision we are doing everything possible in promoting the proper collection and disposal of garbage. Also, in keeping with the council’s own vision for a cleaner and greener city, we want to move in the direction of waste separation and recycling,” the City Mayor stated.
She outlined that the Mayor and City Council is willing to provide support and guidance to householders and businesses which are interested in proper waste management.
“We will be willing to assist and advise them. There is already one business that has ventured into recycling of cardboards and we encourage other businesses to get on board. It would take some time to adapt to changes but with the right direction, we will eventually get accustom to it,” Chase-Green said.