Waste-to-energy conversion would save corporation millions, says MMC CEO
The plan of the National Solid Waste Management Authority to interest a private investor to convert the country’s waste into energy is being looked at by the Manchester Municipal Corporation (MMC) as a possible major revenue saver.
Based on the project overview, the aim is to repurpose landfills across the island as transfer stations, that will facilitate the transportation of waste to one of three conversion sites in St Catherine, St James and St Ann.
Chief executive officer of the corporation, Winston Palmer, said if the plan goes through, there would be less expended for waste management from the corporation’s property tax collection.
“So far we have paid approximately $400 million for the financial year to solid waste (NSWMA) for the parish of Manchester, out of property tax… The ministry takes it out of our money and pays it on our behalf, as is done for all parishes,” Palmer told The Gleaner.
According to Palmer, this privatisation would have the corporation paying much less to the entity and reducing the Government’s import bill for oil used to produce energy.
“They would now become a regulatory body and not an operator. We would not be paying the private investor to buy trucks and pick up garbage and converting the waste to energy, that they would sell and see a return on investment.”
Additionally, with mounting concerns continually raised by residents about poor garbage collection, deputy mayor and councillor of the Mile Gully division, Rohan Kennedy, said the new project would facilitate greater efficiency.
Having secured the services of Seureca, the French Consulting Engineers unit which provides solutions for utilities, public organisations, and industries to efficiently manage their water, waste, and energy services, the NSWMA has been visiting the landfills across the island for deeper assessments.
Speaking at the recent MMC meeting, project manager at Seureca, Gilles de Raymond-Cahuzac, said in the implementation phase of the project, the waste from Manchester would be shipped to St Catherine where the conversion would take place, at a site already identified.
He said though the sorting will be done at the facility, the expectation is that sorting and recycling will also be done at the parish level.
Planning and project manager at NSWMA, Edson Carr, said the Government is putting together a case study to assess placement of disposal sites among other technicalities, before the overall development of the programme.