If the scorching heat and suffocating humidity of the last couple of days is any indication of what to expect for Summer 2010, then todayís announcement by the Solid Waste Management Authority that itís closing the troublesome dumpsite at mile 3 on the Western Highway, is timely. Itís been the scorn of many who reside within the reach of its acrid smoke and putrid stench, and the scene of many dreaded multiple alarm fires during the hot Belize summer months. As the country prepares for the possibility of record-breaking temperatures this year, the Authority wants to minimize the occurrences of the all too familiar fires during the sizzling summer months.
And so, with the financial backing of the International Development Bank the Authority is embarking on a multi-million dollar project to bring relief to city residents by way of closing the existing dumpsite and replacing it with a permanent way station for garbage produced by those municipalities falling under what the authority calls the Western Corridor.
The plan is to construct a state-of-the-art transfer site at the existing location which will accept garbage from the City of Belize, San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Santa Elena and San Ignacio, then consolidate, compact and use its eco friendly processing facility to recycle materials prior to hauling unwanted garbage to a new and permanent landfill located at Mile 24 on the Western Highway.
Itís a four year plan, so for right now donít expect an overnight change at the dumpsite, but according to Gilroy Lewis, the Director of Solid Waste Management and Authority, a facelift for right now is a good start.
The total cost of the project is a little over US$14.5 million dollars, with a little over US$11 million coming from the IDB and the rest coming from the OPEC fund for International Development, with a small portion from the Government of Belize counterpart funds. The project, which got underway officially on Wednesday of this week, is expected to employ somewhere around 75 Belizeans.