Recent Spate of Dump Fires Cost Jamaica $110m

The 11 fires at the nation’s disposal sites over the last two months cost the country $110-million.

In a statement last evening, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, NSWMA board says the fire at the Retirement dump in St. James cost the most money of that amount, $64-million.

The Board says the Authority’s preparedness has improved, citing that the single fire at Riverton in 2015 cost the country $200-million.

In recent weeks, there’ve been two fires at the Riverton disposal site and another at the Church corner dump in St. Thomas prompting authorities to take more action.

Most of the fires are believed to have been started by arsonists.

Chairman of the NSWMA Board, Dennis Chung says the Authority will now be implementing a number of measures.

These include ensuring greater stockpiles of cover material are strategically located on each disposal site to enable a quick response and using drones and other security measures to monitor the sites.

The board says a fire suppression system at Riverton has been instrumental in putting out several fires caused by spontaneous combustion and was critical as a first response to the last fire.

Mr. Chung says they’ve been in discussion with the Minister of Local Government, Desmond McKenzie, and Prime Minister, Andrew Holness who’ve both committed to providing the resources to help.

Meanwhile, the board of directors says they’ll be reviewing the strategic objectives of the Authority at its next retreat.

This includes urging the Enterprise Team, responsible for privatizing the disposal sites and garbage collection, to detail the timeline for privatization.

And the board says the draft audited financial statements for 2017/18, are expected to be submitted to the Minister shortly, for presentation to Cabinet and Parliament in September.

The Board says this will mark the first time since 2004, that the audited financial statements are up to date.

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