THE HAGUE–The Unleashed Potential Group (UPG), a group of pre- and post-graduate students from the Windward Islands living in the Netherlands, has taken on the challenge to look for solutions to permanently address the situation of St. Maarten’s waste management, in particular the Dump, or the Sanitary Landfill.
Under the motto Enough Talk, Time for Action, the enthusiastic group of Windward Islanders who want to make a difference by providing free-of-charge assistance recently started a project to come up with a comprehensive approach to tackle the landfill on Pond Island in the Great Salt Pond.
While working on a strategic framework to make St. Maarten a healthy and attractive destination including projects like the Branding Programme and the Cruise Conversion Programme, the UPG team was faced with a number of real issues that were blocking the island.
The UPG concluded, logically, that a large landfill being frequently on fire, emitting thick toxic smoke, presented a serious problem for the population and was not conducive to tourism either. Solving this issue is part of the bigger picture to further develop St. Maarten and make it attractive for tourists.
According to the UPG, solving the issue was not a troublesome task, but rather “a great and noteworthy goal to accomplish.” The UPG has taken up the initiative to gather the necessary information, and to research and explore the possibilities of curtailing the pollution problem in an objective, independent manner.
Following several introductory meetings on the subject in the course of the past few weeks, members of the UPG met with several large companies in the Netherlands that are specialised in garbage processing, waste management and pollution cleaning. One of these companies was an international firm that specialises in turning large sanitary landfills back into nature.
Some of the options include sanitation, removing the waste and shipping it out for treatment elsewhere, or confining the existing landfill and turning it into a useful piece of land, such as a park or golf course. Not only does the landfill itself need to be sanitised, but the current waste management system has to be tackled as well, otherwise the problem will just continue.
“Proper waste management is not something that only applies to St. Maarten. All over the world people are finding ways to address waste management. The Philippines, India, Vietnam, the Netherlands. All of these countries have had to deal with a situation that is similar to St. Maarten. In some cases their situation was worse than ours,” stated the UPG.
“We have to think about different ways of moving forward. The current situation is untenable. We have to look for alternatives. As a result of the landfill issue, we are missing out on economic opportunities. Getting into action and seriously start discussing and implementing solutions will have a tremendous effect on St. Maarten,” stated the group.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/62234-upg-studies-solution-for-st-maarten-dump