GOB aims to improve Solid Waste Management with new IDB Grant

Friday, June 21st, 2019

The amount of garbage produced in growing communities continues to concern the Government of Belize (GOB) and tourism areas are producing more garbage than the local authorities seem to be able to manage. As such, the Government of Belize has launched a new program aimed at improving solid waste management across the country.
Through a non-reimbursable Technical Cooperation (grant) of $500,000US, provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through the Japan Quality Infrastructure Initiative (JQI), GOB has stated that they will “improve solid waste management in Belize by promoting the reduction and recovery of municipal solid waste generation and contributing to the expansion of coverage of municipal solid waste management to rural areas.” The agreement was signed on Monday, June 17th by the Prime Minister of Belize, Right Honorable Dean Barrow, and Country Representative of the IDB, Dr. Cassandra T. Rogers, with IDB Executive Director Toshiyuki Yasui acting as a witness of honor.

San Pedro Garbage Transfer Station

According to the grant terms, GOB will receive the funds to be used for three specific objectives of the Technical Cooperation. These objectives are the implementation of a pilot project in selected tourism areas to promote source separation, composting, reuse and recycling; designing a system to facilitate solid waste collection and transport in rural villages for final disposal in the Mile 24 Regional Sanitary Landfill, and to design a route optimization in urban areas.
This new grant will act as the second phase of GOB’s Solid Waste Management Project (SWMP) implemented back in 2012. The initial project was financed by a $10US million loan from IDB and saw the construction of four Garbage Transfer Stations built in key areas to improve solid waste transport, recovery, and final disposal in towns and villages in Belize’s Northern (Orange Walk and Corozal), Southern (Stann Creek and Toledo) Corridors as well as in Belmopan and Ambergris Caye. With the construction and opening of the Garbage Transfer Station, local dumpsites were closed in Belize City, San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and San Ignacio/Santa Elena – Benque Viejo. Through the SWMP, all garbage collected in these areas is to be sorted and transferred to the Mile 24 Regional Sanitary Landfill for final disposal. This additional grant is aimed at completing the SWMP’s final goal to “reduce environmental pollution by improving solid waste management practices.”
However, the SWMP has not gone without issues, particularly here in San Pedro Town. As the country’s top tourism destination continues to grow at an exponential rate, an unmanageable amount of garbage is produced. Adding to the problem is improper and illegal disposal practices by private garbage collection agents. Many opt not to take collected garbage to the Transfer Station due to the small fee charged, and instead dump trash in secluded areas of the island. This practice is having adverse effects on the environment and quality of life for both residents and tourists.
Most recently, the San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, with support from the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), launched an educational campaign against the improper disposal of garbage. The response to this campaign has seen slow progress, but many still believe SPTC needs to implement strict fines and enforcement to completely deter persons from improperly disposing of garbage. The San Pedro Sun attempted to get a comment from the San Pedro Town Mayor, Daniel Guerrero on his plans regarding the garbage situation but to no avail.
Furthermore, residents are encouraged to report illegalities by taking pictures and dropping it off at the Town Council or emailing them to [email protected] or the SP BTIA at [email protected] for prosecution. Residents are reminded that it’s up to everyone to keep La Isla Bonita Clean.

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