One of the most pressing environmental issues for the community is the George Town landfill site, also known as 'Mount Trashmore'.
The George Town Landfill
The 90ft pile of rubbish can be seen from offshore and is visible to locals, residents and visitors every day. It has caused numerous toxic fires, forcing surrounding schools and businesses to close and, as the landfill is not lined, it’s feared it may be contaminating the surrounding water-table.
The proposed plan to tackle Cayman’s ever-growing landfill site is to create a comprehensive Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS) as a public-private partnership. A private consortium of companies, led by DART Enterprises, will take over responsibility for the treatment of all waste management in the Cayman Islands for the next 25 years, working alongside the Department of Environmental Health who will continue to collect waste on the Islands.
ReGen - 2021
As of March 26th 2021, Project ReGen
has been launched as DART has finally signed the contract for ISWMS
works to continue. It has been proposed Project ReGen will take 3.5
years to complete, where the new ISWMS will be constructed between
2022-2044. Construction costs are said to range around $205 million,
which will be subsidised by DART. Parties involved in the project are
hoping to create 9 integrated facilities with capacity to divert up to
95% of waste from the landfill. In line with the National Solid Waste
Management Strategy agreed as far back as 2016, Project ReGen hopes to
create a long-term, sustainable waste management solution with improved
recycling, including the repurposing of materials that aren't recycled into
electricity, and the promotion of movement up the 'waste hierarchy'.
Once the ISWMS is fully operational, the CI Government will pay the parties associated $163 per tonne of processed waste. Government are hoping that this will be a final successful attempt at 'fixing the dump', which has been promised for decades. Operations will be split between DART and the DEH (Department of Environmental Health). Until then, the landfill will continue to expand laterally after the height capacity has been reached, with hopes of being removed through the design and procurement of a fully up-and-running sustainable waste management system.
Cayman is already benefitting from the environmental awareness and legislation from other countries, as larger producers take responsibility for making their products more sustainable. Yet it remains crucial to slow the increasing flow of rubbish to the landfill. The Government is making efforts to shred used tyres, recycle materials and bale scrap metals so that these objects do not take up valuable space in the landfill, whilst also trying to educate both schools and the general public on the importance of home waste reduction. Nevertheless, these changes rely on the participation of Cayman’s population, and people are urged to make the attitude and lifestyle changes required in order to reduce waste, and its environmental impact. As outlined in the new waste management strategy, when the current landfill site is closed, it will undergo surface water and landfill gas management, and then eventually it will be capped with around five feet of protective layering, and re-vegetated to create a recreational green space. The grounds will continue to be monitored to ensure the site performs within the approved parameters of safety, and landfill gases (such as methane and carbon dioxide) will be collected and transported to the thermo-recycling plant to be used as fuel. Over time, the overall height of the landfill is expected to decrease yearly by around 3%, and the contamination of the surrounding ground and wet-lands will also be reduced. New facilities will then be built, which will manage all recyclable and non-recyclable waste for Grand Cayman and also Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. All rubbish will be shipped over to Grand Cayman for processing.