During the Director of USONA’s visit, Mr. R. Doran, Commissioner Bruce Zagers discussed the processes involved in obtaining funding for the landfill project on Saba. The SEI has approximately 400,000 NAF available for waste management.
Zagers along with Mr. Wim Hofman (Kwartiermaker VROM) and local stakeholders stated, "We are busy putting together a master plan for the landfill. The money available in the SEI should be enough to start the project, but the continuation of the project is the main concern." Zagers went on to elaborate, "I had a very promising discussion with Mr. Doran as to how we will proceed with this project and I look forward to a solution to this important issue soon."
In 2008 the Island Government started a project to remove the scrap metal from the landfill. This project was successful being that it reduced the volume of waste at the landfill. However, due to a lack of funding the project could not continue.
"The Executive Council understands the severity of this environmental and health issue, especially for the people living in St. Johns and the Bottom. The burning of the landfill is not a problem which just started; it has been one that has been ongoing for many decades. There are no clear cut solutions which are feasible for Saba to solve this problem from one day to the next. This is not the only government that has had to deal with this issue. However, this government has it as a high priority and will do its utmost to find a solution.", stated Commissioner Zagers.
Commissioner Zagers told GIS that he hopes to have the plan finalized before the end of the year. Once this plan is finalized it will go to the Executive Council for approval and then to USONA for processing of funds. Zagers went on to elaborate that the draft budget for 2010 has a considerable amount budgeted for maintenance of the landfill. "It is important to realize however, that whatever we decide to do will only be successful if it is properly maintained", elicited Zagers.
Zagers affirmed that he shares the same concerns with the community and stated that he is available to discuss these important issues anytime. "I have an open door policy and everyone is welcome to come and share their concerns about the landfill or any issue. Through the grape vine we hear that there is unrest in the community about the landfill, which is understandable. However, those that choose to make threats or remarks through anonymous or unsubstantiated mediums such as Facebook or Myspace, will not solve the problems of the landfill. This will only add fuel to the fire and stir up heated emotions. I am open to suggestions and sharing ideas about the future of waste management here on Saba. It is important to know that whatever solution we develop, that the community endorses it as well."
Source: Saba Government Information Services – gi*@sa*****.com