Grenada Takes A Decisive Step Towards Waste Through Recycling

PR  — The Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA) has initiated two projects, which signal an essential shift in Waste Management for the country and the OECS region. ​ On July 25, Grenada’s Recycle OECS Model Demonstration project was launched. The following day, July 26, GSWMA’s officially commissioned its last remaining cell at the Perseverance Landfill – the only Landfill facility on Grenada’s mainland.

Grenada is one of two OECS Member States selected to stage Recycle OECS Model Demonstration projects. Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy, Hon. Kerryne James, in her feature address at the Recycle OECS demonstration launch, said this marks a turning point for the sector and that “The coming into being of the Recycle OECS Model project in Grenada comes at a time when the GSWMA is at the crossroads of changing the way waste will be managed in Grenada as we advance.” The Minister further stated that the model’s success depends on a “whole of society” approach and commitment and discipline in adapting to new approaches to the management of waste and healthy partnerships, “and Grenada is up to the task!”

Minister James observed that the immediate focus is on tackling plastic pollution, Grenada’s participation in Recycle OECS sets the stage to reduce “huge quantities of waste being landfilled,” of which approximately 13.8% consists of plastics.

Identifying an alternative landfill space is one of the strategic priorities in GSWMA’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Project. However, the ongoing search has been unsuccessful due to Grenada’s mountainous terrain and limited land space. Located on the island’s west coast just 500 metres from Halifax harbour, the semi–Aerobic Landfill at Perseverance has been operating only three of its six cells, the first and second cells have collapsed within a year of operation. Due to the terrain, the sixth cell required extensive investment to retrofit the area for necessary slope stabilisation and to contain leachate runoff in the rainy season.

With only a five-year lifespan projected for the new landfill facility, GSWMA General Manager Lyndon Robertson, described the time overlap of the two projects as a decisive moment for waste management in Grenada. Speaking at the commissioning on the landfill, he stated, “We began to prepare for this day some time ago as we move towards the pathway of transitioning waste to a resource, and also by activating that important strategic objective of the Authority, to recycle about 80% of the Waste we generate by 2035.” Mr. Robertson added, “to extend the life of the landfill, we need to close that loop in how we manage our waste, and we need to have the principles of the circular economy incorporated into everything we do.” He hailed the selection of Grenada for the Recycle OECS Model demonstration as an important step “because this European Union funded project would allow us to access resources for capital investment and to operationalise recycling in Grenada.”

Present for both events were sector stakeholders and representatives of government, the business community, funding agencies, the OECS Commission and AFD as project implementation partners and technical consultants. In his remarks, Head of OECS Environmental Sustainability Division, Mr. Chamberlain Emmanuel, said that much is riding on the demonstrations, as they will prove what works for Caribbean SIDS as it relates to “speed, scale, and stay.” In that respect, “the region, even the world, will be looking to you to set the tone for SIDS in solving the Plastic (and broader) waste management issue, and the OECS Commission is here to support your journey,” He added. ​ ​

Grenada and Dominica came in for high commendation from the OECS for their speedy acceptance of the conditions for Model Demonstration, notably, their stated commitment to: (1) Promote and support the enabling environment for the successful implementation of the model and; (2) Support the post-project sustainability of the program. “In Grenada’s case we are excited to see how existing innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives can be integrated into the model implementation for wide ownership and sustainability,” Mr. Emmanuel noted.

The Seureca Unite Caribbean Consortium has been contracted to support the implementing waste management authorities. Ronald Roach, Waste Management Specialist with the consortium, told the gathering that a national recycling program for plastic waste can be a catalyst for economic growth and social empowerment, as a well-designed recycling program has the potential to create new job opportunities in waste management, recycling facilities, and research and development while promoting environmental awareness through education about the importance of sustainable consumption and waste management practices.”

Recycle OECS is funded by the  European Union and is being implemented by the OECS Commission in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD). A significant milestone of the project is designing and implementing a model for sustainable waste separation, collection, and recycling of plastic waste for the OECS that will consider self-financing, sustainability, and business viability. The two-year Project supports the broader EU Zero Waste initiative in the Caribbean Programme, which aims to strengthen the EU-Caribbean partnership for cooperation in the Circular Economy and Solid Waste Management field.