Everyone's opportunity to make a difference
Waste Management in St. John's: Everyone's opportunity to make a difference
by Fred Winsor Candidate for Councillor at Large
The new challenge facing waste management in St. John's is the expansion of waste diversion programs. Channeling materials away from the landfill so they can be re-used for other purposes is a practical strategy to extend the life of the landfill while providing re-usable materials and resources which can benefit our citizens.
Expanding household hazardous waste collection programs with a curbside pick-up service for those who do not have cars is one low cost strategy which can prevent household medications and chemicals from being flushed into the harbour. Yes, waste diversion and the harbour clean-up are connected.
Establishing organic waste collection systems for composting would divert a significant potion of waste from landfills while the compost produced could be used by farmers, gardeners and landscapers alike. In a province with such a lack of quality topsoil this would prove a welcome addition. Similarly tree branches and trees both small and large can be used for mulch and firewood respectively. These are underutilized natural resources which can benefit our quality of life.
Is it possible to stop all illegal dumping? Probably not. While surveillence cameras placed in well known illegal dumping areas produce results in the short term, it seems that what is needed is to take the longer view and encourage greater public participation in responsible waste management. There are a number of approaches to reduce the option of dumping illegally.
Extending the hours of operation for the Robin Hood Bay landfill on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from the present 8AM – 4PM to 8AM-8PM.
Establishing small regional waste transfer stations so those with small loads of garbage do not have so far to travel.
Set up construction materials re-use facilities at those stations to permit re-use of those materials. Then the run to the dump becomes a trip to a salvage yard - a different perspective.
Encouraging increased user- participation in responsible waste management by operating raffles or ticket draws for small-load waste carriers – vans, pick-ups, cars, etc., with gift certificate prizes redeemable at local businesses.
Create a site location information campaign to inform the population of the numerous alternatives they have when it comes to waste disposal.
We are all part of the solution.