At the recent opening ceremony of the new Cell 4 at the Mangrove Pond Landfill, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said he observed that Barbados has come a long way in the area of waste management, where waste is seen by many now as a resource rather than just as something to be discarded.

He was speaking moments before officially declaring Cell Four at the Mangrove Pond Landfill open and unveiling a plaque with Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr. Denis Lowe on Sunday evening.

“We have made commendable efforts over the years to reduce the amount of waste destined for disposal, but since some kind of disposal is necessary we must conduct that activity in a safe and sustainable manner. This newly constructed landfill at Mangrove is just one aspect of my administration’s continuing commitment to the development of a green economy and a green society in Barbados,” he said.

With Barbados’ fuel bill representing the heaviest demand on the foreign exchange, the Prime Minister said that the country must aim to diversify its energy sources to include more renewable and sustainable ones.

“I speak of green energy. It is for this reason that my administration has committed itself to the development of a Green Energy Complex adjacent to where we now sit. It will include energy generation facilities, utilising wind and solar energy resources; a Landfill Gas-to-Energy facility which will harness and appropriate many of the harmful greenhouse gases produced by the landfill while generating electricity; and a Waste-to-Energy Facility that will convert the bulk of the waste that is currently disposed of at the landfill into energy.

“These facilities will complement the already existing Mangrove Pond landfill and the Waste Management Facility known as Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre, which is responsible for more than 70 per cent diversion of waste by weight from the landfill.”

Prime Minister Stuart said that the local production of biodiesel, though still in its early stages, has the capacity not only to offset some of the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and reduce the foreign exchange risk in that respect, but will also offer an environmentally sound alternative that will be kinder to the environment and reduce the island’s potential contribution to the causes of climate change.

Stuart stressed that innovative partnerships must be forged locally, regionally and internationally to arrest the harmful effects of climate change.

“Though climate change and sustainable development are, for many, the buzz phrases of the day, we in Barbados, because of our small size and resource limitations, know that we must pursue a greener path to our economic development if we are to survive.”

He assured that the DLP administration is committed to pursuing economic growth and development, social stability, advancement and security and environmental sustainability.

“The commissioning of Cell Four is but another chapter in our continued efforts to realise a cleaner and greener Barbados,” the Prime Minister reiterated.

Excerpts from The Barbados Advocate.