Foreman Samuel Gonzalez Returns from Solid Waste Management Training

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Solid Waste management on the island has been an exponential problem and continues to be so. With the implementation of the new Solid Waste Management Plan in which solid waste products will be transported to the Belize City for proper disposal, Foreman Samuel Gonzalez is being trained to oversee the process. Samuel travelled to El Salvador for an extensive three-day training session in Solid Waste Management.

Gonzalez left the country for El Salvador on the 5th of June and returned on the 9th of June.  He formed part of a larger Belize delegation who received the training as part of the national Solid Waste Management Plan. This was made possible through an initiative by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

According to Gonzalez, his experience was very fruitful and by comparison, he believes that the Belize Solid Waste Management Plan will work impeccably. “This is a comparison from an opened dump site and how a land-fill works. Open dumpsites are usually burned providing for less methane gasses. In the landfills, there is a base, a lining and then they start dumping the garbage. There’s a layer of garbage followed by a layer of sand and so forth. This is being done on a daily basis, so you don’t really see the garbage, only sand the landfill.”

While in El Salvador Gonzalez’s trainings commenced at 7AM and went through 7PM daily. Apart from theory, Gonzalez had the opportunity to go out and visit various land fill garbage disposal sites in El Salvador as part of the training. “We were taken to the actual dumpsites to see the comparison and the procedures they are using. In El Salvador they are just starting, much like how we are going to start. This experience opens our minds because I had done part of the theory in Belmopan last year, and now I got a chance to actually see similar sites and how they work.”

According to Gonzalez, with the new system, which involves the construction of a transfer station at the San Pedro Marina, the barging of the Solid Waste Material to Mill 22 on the Western Highway, the collection method remains the same. The San Pedro Town Council will continue to collect the town’s garbage much as they are doing presently, with the difference being where the garbage will be taken to. He spoke of the possibility of employing the scavengers that work the present dump grounds for usable materials, to separate the garbage collected prior to barging it to the Belize City. There is also the opportunity for an independent investor to use biodegradable garbage material as compost for fertilizer.

One system that the foreman noticed during his travels that he would like to see implemented here on the island was the way that a little town tackled the proper garbage disposal situation; “We need to be aggressive with this garbage situation and make this town look really clean. There is this little town in El Salvador called San Jose in the Departamento del Union and this mayor took it as a political campaign, but instead of it being just a political campaign they turned it into a garbage champagne where the entire council went house to house teaching the electorates about garbage collecting and the garbage clean up. And now they have trained their people so well. In the beginning the council used to give them the garbage bags to separate the garbage material, now they are so trained that they buy their own bags. This little village I would say is the cleanest village that you could find in El Salvador.
This is something that I believe can be done here on the island.” While to date, there has been no indication from the Government of Belize as to when the National Solid Waste Management Plan will go into effect, Samuel is being trained to take the lead in spearheading this project in San Pedro once the project starts.

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