By Anouk Balentina
Source: Bati Bleki
State Secretary for Kingdom Relations Alexandra van Huffelen arrives in Aruba today during her working visit to the islands. Anouk Balentina, campaigner for a clean environment, warns the new secretary of state that nothing is what it seems when it comes to the Parkietenbos, the open garbage dump of Aruba.
“I want to thank you very much. Suddenly, all kinds of people and organizations take action to ensure that the outside of Parkietenbos looks great. Appearance is what it’s all about.
Now my street suddenly gets a nice makeover. Plants and trees along the road are nicely pruned, all green areas along the road are nicely cleaned, the holes in the road are quickly fixed with asphalt so that you will not be shaken when you drive on this road with your delegation.
I see that the Parkietenbos dump is being cleaned up neatly, the smoldering fires are covered with sand and suddenly bulldozers are available to ensure that no spontaneous fires start. A few weeks ago, when a whole pile of tires caught fire, producing huge clouds of black smoke, those bulldozers were nowhere to be seen.
To the right at the entrance of the dump are a lot of containers stacked on top of each other, probably to obstruct your view as much as possible. And I dare say that as the delegation drives by very quickly, the containers will disappear from the neighborhood the following day.
I hope you understand this facade, this outward display, and have the audacity to ask your driver to stop for a moment. For example, right in front of my house or where the so-called wind vane and flag are located that should inform us when the wind turns and whether the incinerator is on. Ask the driver not to drive through but to enter the gate to see the incinerator for yourself. It has most likely been shut down for a while so as not to show the nuisance it creates. Ask them where the sludge from the sewage treatment plant is put to dry. And step out to smell the poop perfume we are exposed to day and night.
Do not be fooled by these cosmetic procedures to throw sand in your eyes; that everything is going to be okay. Because it’s not easy. Not really.
And that is why today, now that you are here and driving by, I am happy, very happy, because then local residents also have a day of rest. No stench, no toxic substances to inhale. Finally, a day with clean air. Something that you and those drivers in Oranjestad take for granted, but we, the residents of Parkietenbos crave every day.
So, please come as much as you can and then say you want to drive past Parkietenbos every time you get off the plane. Then we always enjoy your visit.
Again, welcome Mrs van Huffelen.”
One of my friends reports: The “one woman show” called Anouk Balentina will never get things changed, because she DOES NOT WANT TO collaborate with environmental NGOs and other community stakeholders who have tackled the issue of waste management and behind the scenes are working on PERMANENTLY solving the problems of waste management, landfill Parkietenbos, RWZI, Bubaliplas etc.
Going to court is a waste of time, instead focus on providing scenarios with technical solutions and financing schemes, and force, with the help of community stakeholders and environmental NGOs, the Government of Aruba to choose a scenario and execute the solution process once and for all.