Urgency for waste management system in St. Maarten

File photo of Pond Island Dump


Streamliner Ltd CEO Denis Golovenko

ENGLAND/Sint Maarten — 721 News recently spoke with Dwain Van-Putten and Denis Golovenko of Streamliner Ltd a United Kingdom based infrastructure advisory that has identified some main deficiencies of the existing waste management system.

The company acknowledges that effective waste management is a complex process, which requires thoughtful strategy-setting, legal, technical and commercial interactions by public and private parties.

Streamliner Ltd. have analyzed public comments and available open source documentation on the issue, and have identified the problems facing the country as it relates to waste management. Some of the identified issues are frequent fires at the dumpsite and the distribution of toxic gaseous effluents, mix-up of hazardous waste with toxic waste, absence of waste recycling infrastructure, which would enable separation of waste at source. Other identified problems are: lack of publicized regulatory environment on waste management hierarchy and its procurement and sporadic construction of business and private dwellings, which must have added pressure on waste collection and storage efforts of St. Maarten authorities are all some of the issues facing the local community.

Van-Putten and Golovenko further told 721 News that very few modern waste management systems still rely on waste collection and processing services provided by central government or local authorities. Thus, in order to reverse the St. Maarten waste situation as quickly as possible, it appears important to re-establish basic principles on responsibilities of government officials, the St. Maarten private sector and general population to get things rolling.

They have both further identified immediate actions that St. Maarten’s government should take. Some of the immediate actions are as follows:

  • Consolidate, collect all basic analytical information on accumulated waste amounts, undertake waste composition tests and geotechnical surveys as required
  • Run basic calculations on required technical capabilities to tackle the accumulated waste, current and future waste flows
  • Develop a St. Maarten Waste Management System(WMS), backed by realistic Waste Management Operational Plans (WMOP)
  • Align Waste Management System and supporting Waste Management Operational Plans with St. Maarten wide utilities and transport masterplans
  • Regulate and license waste management activities in strict accordance with approved and funded Waste management System and Waste Management Operational Plans
  • Run open tenders and appoint private sector contractors to execute works as per approved Waste Management Operational Plans
  • Monitor the Waste Management Operational Plans contracts implementation by the private sector
  • Set up a professional waste planning and monitoring capability within the St. Maarten government or environmental protection agency championing research and uses of green tech to ultimately eliminate any waste landfilling
  • Establish regular consultation and liaison channels with the private sector and population on waste management issues

The St. Maarten private sector waste management contractors along with the St. Maarten public and other private businesses also have their role to play. Private sector waste management contractors should assist with the design, finance and development of waste management technologies (Collection, storage, recycling, processing etc.); comply with local and international regulations and licenses; train staff and ensure quality execution of St. Maarten government waste management contracts.

On the other hand, the St. Maarten public and other private businesses should actively participate in public hearings on St. Maarten Waste Management Systems and Waste Management Operational Plans and buy into them. They should also identify areas within households and businesses to reduce waste generation; pay allocated financial contributions to enable Waste Management Operational Plans (through local taxes or direct payments to private contractors) and lastly hold government officials and private contractors accountable on Waste Management Operational Plans implementations.

Streamliner Ltd stated that if properly implemented it is estimated that the process of designing and launching the new waste management system into operation for St. Maarten should take around two years, at a cost of up to USD20 million from government and public funds in the following stages:

Stage 1: Site Investigations and Concept Design by St. Maarten Government – 2 months (USD 0.75-1.0mln)

Stage 2: Detailed Technical Design and Feasibility Study by St. Maarten Government – 3 months (USD2.0mln)

Stage 3: Public Consultation – 1 month (USD 0.5mln)

Stage 4: Running of open tenders to construct new Waste Management facilities and supply Waste Management services (collection, recycling, processing) among private companies – 3 months (USD 0.5mln)

Stage 5: Construction of various Waste Management Services infrastructure, purchases of equipment – up to 12 months (USD10-15mln)

Stage 6: Tackling the historic backlog of accumulated waste amounts – 3 months (USD 0.75-1.0mln)

Stage 7: Normal operations

Details of the new waste processing system procurement and financing should be developed in parallel with its technical design development during stages 1 and 2, and presented and discussed at public consultations at stage 3.

Who is Streamliner Ltd. you may ask? Well, Streamliner Ltd is an infrastructure advisory practice, which have successfully advised many local authorities, concessionaires and financial institutions on technical design, business planning, procurement and financing of public utilities (including waste management services) in the United Kingdom, Austria, Slovenia and Russia. Similar scopes of services can be extended to the government of St Maarten, should a political decision be made to adopt a new waste management system for the island with the help of an independent advisor.

Streamliner Ltd contact E-mail: d.e.golovenko@streamliner.biz