Controlling waste through composting

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In recent years, the state of Antigua and Barbuda has residents baffled as they observe the wanton disposal of wastes on the streets daily. To say it is unsightly would be putting it mildly for the nation is filthy, littered with numerous soda cans, foam cups, beer bottles and even baby diapers which continue to block the drains.

In an effort to stem this tide and redirect organic wastes and biodegradable material from the sanitary landfill, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has devised a plan out of which has emerged a composting technical committee.

A SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) analysis has already been completed to look at the critical aspects of the composting programme, its manageability and longevity.

This committee will create the framework for commercial composting; the nine members represent key agencies inclusive of National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG), Central Board of Health (CBH), Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Environment.

A lot of vegetative wastes is being collected from the business district in St. John’s, weekly, which is sufficient to generate a good quantity of compost. Composting these wastes will reduce the amount of organic wastes and bio-degradable materials being sent to the landfill.

In an effort to speed up the composting process, a plan is being developed to collect food scraps from the various business places since most of the wastes are dumped into the trash. Additionally, the composting of organic waste will aid greatly in controlling vermin, pests and animals which frequent all disposal sites.

Some aspects of the programme were highlighted by the business development officer at NSWMA, Jennifer Joseph who also heads the committee.

“There is a planned pilot programme to determine the percentage of organic waste being produced in St. John’s. A boundary is yet to be mapped out. However, the areas of Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay are presently being considered as target areas,” she said.

Joseph also mentioned the method which will be utilized at the start of the project.

“The aerobic method of composting will be utilized during the initial phase but other methods will be considered based on the progress of the commercial composting when operations begin.”

Composting will not rid our streets of waste nor the filth which engulfs us. It is the responsibility of every resident, of all who occupy this small space to keep it clean. Clean air is free of pollution and is healthy air.

Our surroundings depict who we are. What do your surroundings say about you? Are you part of the problem of defacing this nation? It is time to be part of the solution. Join the beautification efforts to recapture the beauty of this paradise.

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