A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed at Jamaica House on Monday (July 22) to undertake the activity, which is a collaboration of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, and the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, through the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said the tyres, which have been accumulating for decades at Riverton as well as other landfills across the island, pose a serious threat to the environment, mainly due to the fire hazard, as when a fire occurs toxins are released into the atmosphere.
Mr. Holness noted that the project is imperative to the Government’s environmental agenda, and will see the tyres being removed and transported to Carib Cement’s location in Kingston, where they will be incinerated in a managed process in a kiln (to provide some form of energy).
“The Government is on a path; we are committed, and I think that this a synergetic solution to the problem of solid waste disposal, particularly those combustible types in the form of tyres,” he said.
The Prime Minister explained that during the trial period, the NSWMA will supply Carib Cement with five truckloads of used tyres per day.
“Carib Cement will be responsible for the payment of costs relating to the offloading of the tyres, and the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation will share equally in the cost of putting the tyres on the trucks and transporting them to the kiln,” he said.
Mr. Holness noted that subsequent to the 40 days, and seeing how the process works, “we will then proceed with a more long-term agreement”.
“The other sites, once we have this one in operation and we better understand the logistics, and the cost, then we can start to plan for the other sites,” he said.
For his part, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, said the project is an important public-private partnership that will “deal with a very sensitive environmental issue”.
He pointed out that the Government has been working to find a solution to addressing the issue of the stockpiled tyres for the past two years, noting that an average 1,000 tyres are deposited at the Riverton landfill per day, and that the Hill Run facility has also amassed about one million tyres over time.
Mr. Vaz stressed that a major issue that has impeded proper management of the tyres is that they are “illicitly burnt from time to time, so that the copper extract can be taken out and used in the scrap metal industry”.
In his remarks, outgoing General Manager, Carib Cement, Peter Donkersloot, said the initiative “is the best and most environmentally friendly way to solve many environmental liabilities like the tyres”, as it does not produce toxic gases or a by-product.
“We are committed to the success of this project because it is good to the environment, the health and the safety of Jamaicans. This partnership has the potential to become another good example of a joint solution between the Government and the private sector,” he said.
Another plus for the company is that the project will also serve to continue to reduce the company’s use of fossil fuels and replacing it with alternative fuels.
Mr. Donkersloot said it is anticipated that once the full project is embarked on following this trial period, “we will be able to eliminate all tyres at Riverton between three and five years”.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, also welcomed the initiative, noting that it is a “game changer” that will “both enhance and encourage and [result in] greater confidence in the ability of the NSWMA to operate efficiently.”