NDCs face serious garbage disposal problems
Several pilot projects planned By Oscar P. Clarke
Stabroek News
September 3, 2002

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The lack of systems to dispose garbage on the lower East Coast Demerara is being blamed for unsightly pile-ups and disputes between some residents and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) of Better Hope/La Bonne Intention.

It exemplifies a growing problem that local government bodies experience in disposing of garbage generated by their communities.

Problems abound over the disposal of refuse in several NDCs particularly those on the lower ECD, where the absence of a designated site has seen unhealthy practices being pursued. For some communities, there may be a ray of light on the horizon as Minister in the Ministry of Local Government, Clinton Collymore, recently announced that pilot projects for disposal would be developed at the cost of US$750,000 in Region Three and Region Four. When these will actually materialise is another question.

The issue recently came to the fore after Chateau Margot residents complained that the Better Hope/LBI NDC was dumping garbage near to their homes. In response to the complaints by residents, the Better Hope/LBI NDC says that dumping began at the present site prior to the construction of homes in the area.

Further, the absence of suitable sites for the disposal of the area’s refuse has led to it having to continue disposing of the waste at the South Railway Embankment location although recognizing its inadequacies.

According to NDC Chairman, Takur Persaud, the council currently has three options: continuing to dump at the present site, leaving it where it is in proximity to some residents’ homes, or locating a new site urgently.

However, he said that the last option was not one expected to become a reality in the short term since any site acquired would need preparation prior to its acceptance as a prescribed dumpsite.

An area of land identified by residents, located near the Chateau Margot seashore as an alternative dump site, Persaud said, was transported property, a portion of which is owned by the ruling PPP/C for which rates and taxes are collected by the council.

However, some residents argued that the situation has been blown out of proportion because of the way in which the chairman runs the NDC. They say that efforts by residents to secure their self-advancement are trampled upon by the chairman who feels his approval is needed for things to run smoothly.

Examining the refuse situation from a different angle, Persaud highlighted the desperate situation regarding its disposal particularly on the lower ECD, where he said there is critical absence of adequate sites to facilitate this exercise.

Pointing to neighbouring NDCs, the Better Hope-LBI NDC chairman said that unlike most of the surrounding villages his does not have backlands. Instead, most of the land is either transported property or it belongs to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO).

“If we have to move the rubbish... we might put it somewhere else where it affects other people,” Persaud lamented, while recognizing that the situation for the residents of South Railway Embankment where the garbage was now being dumped was not healthy.

According to Persaud, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which has been in contact with the NDC did not posit ideas to solve such problems, rather it would only order that the NDC cease dumping rubbish there would lead to a rubbish crisis in the villages which the NDC services.

The collection and disposal of garbage is a major problem countrywide with not even the city of Georgetown spared the trials of locating suitable dumpsites, Persaud said.

Further, he anticipated the present garbage problem escalating to crisis levels if urgent steps are not taken essentially at the national level to arrest the current trend.

Speaking to officials of the five neighbourhood democratic councils in Region Two recently, Collymore said that three pilot projects will be developed at Lusignan on the East Coast Demerara, Eccles on the East Bank Demerara and Windsor Forest on the West Coast Demerara. He said that 19 acres next to the Guysuco installation at Lusignan would be developed and 300 acres at Eccles will be utilised by the Eccles, Grove, Better Hope and Plaisance NDCs. He added that permission had been given by the Environmental Protection Agency for the setting up of the sites and US$750,000 would be spent on the projects.


Chairman of the neighbouring Beterverwagting-Triumph NDC, Bruce Adams, when contacted by Stabroek News also alluded to the critical situation with respect to the disposal of solid waste from that community.

According to Adams, garbage from BV/Triumph is decanted at a site close to the seashore in proximity to the area’s irrigation pump station for which approval had been gained from the district’s environmental officer.

This site, which has been in use for the last five years, also accommodates refuse from the neighbouring Mon Repos-La Reconnaissance NDC, which has no site at present.

One of the skips hired by the Plaisance/Industry NDC to arrest the garbage situation near the village market. But as is evident in the photo, rubbish is still being dumped outside the receptacle (Lawrence Fanfair photo)

A previous site - near the abandoned Vijay cinema - to which garbage from that NDC was taken, was abandoned following the intervention of the EPA and government after complaints from residents of the neighbouring squatter settlement of ‘Jango’.

Further, the construction of a crematorium in the vicinity also militated against the continued use of the site for dumping. However, several shells of vehicles continue to share space with the tombs in the burial ground.

According to Adams, the BV/Triumph NDC did not readily approve of the neighbouring NDC dumping at its site but realised that it had nowhere else to do so.

Residents of that community, he further said, were dumping refuse in a haphazard manner causing congestion at the site. Further, some squatters who have occupied an area in proximity to the site occasionally light the garbage. As a result, smoke drifts into homes in Triumph north causing discolouration and choking occupants with its noxious fumes.


Chairman of the Buxton-Foulis NDC, Randolph Blair, shared the refuse disposal concerns of his NDC colleagues on the lower ECD, which he acknowledged is a major problem. “This issue is one that is much bigger than the NDCs,” Blair said, while positing the need for a properly configured and managed landfill site to accommodate the communities’ waste.

Proposals, Blair further said, had been made for the development of a common landfill site for the use of three NDCs but this was yet to materialise.

Buxton-Foulis NDC disposes of its solid waste at several areas including a site close to the foreshore off the Buxton Middle Walk Dam.

However, he acknowledged that the council mainly dumped rubbish rather than managing it properly within clearly established guidelines.

Blair added that NDCs didn’t undertake house-to-house garbage collection, but rather, assisted in relieving the build up of refuse in and around community markets and other areas.

According to Blair, most of the domestic refuse is normally disposed the old fashioned way by digging pits in homeowner’s yards. However, like other NDC heads, he pointed to the high volume of plastics, especially bottles, as one of the major headaches.


Chairman of the Plaisance/Industry NDC, Thomas Sandiford, shared the views of other NDCs in recognising the problem as one of national importance.

According to Sandiford, his NDC, which currently dumps its refuse at the back of Ogle in trenches which are then covered over, would soon have to cease this operation.

“Once the Ogle airport authority begins using the land [for a planned expansion project] then a serious problem will develop”, the NDC head disclosed, while noting that the situation would have to be taken on at a national level.

He too highlighted the problems associated with the use of plastic bottles which he said lent itself to a grave environmental problem.

Sandiford was also critical of residents whom he said needed to show greater levels of environmental consciousness and avoid disposing of their garbage in their environment.

He highlighted an ongoing programme by his NDC aimed at educating the residents about the need to keep their surroundings clean in order to maintain good health.

The chairman acknowledged that despite all the efforts of the NDC, residents persisted in dumping their refuse in drains, at road corners and outside the bins placed specifically for that purpose.

While recognising that they would have to continue to press the message home, he signalled the intention of the council to begin prosecuting persons who are caught littering.

A lot of the refuse of the community, he said, is collected in bins including six metal ones hired from a disposal company and placed at strategic locations especially around the market area. These are cleared once a week. The metal receptacles, Sandiford said, were rented during the last period of heavy rainfall, which saw the council unable to dispose of garbage at its dumpsite because of the inaccessibility of the road.

Questioned about the possibility of the establishment of a communal dumpsite behind Lusignan, Sandiford noted several limiting factors including costs to the NDC to transport its refuse there.

Persaud from the Better Hope/LBI NDC had expressed similar sentiments while highlighting the tight budget of most NDCs.

Burning of rubbish in yard pits

Sandiford also echoed the sentiments of Buxton/Foulis NDC head, Blair, who plugged the idea of persons assisting in the reduction of refuse by burning it in a pit in their yards.

Questions about smoke and its effects on residents led Sandiford to acknowledge that it was a problem. But he recommended specific times for such an activity to be undertaken. “People years ago were more environmentally friendly,” Sandiford added while seeing it as the collective responsibility of all including the council to ensure a healthy environment.

Regional Administration

Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Four, (Demerara/Mahaica), Mohamed Deen, told this newspaper that efforts have been made by the RDC to locate areas for the NDCs to dump their refuse.

According to Deen, letters had been written to Guysuco, for it to release a plot of land at the back of LBI estate road near to a condemned canal for use as a temporary site by the Better Hope/LBI NDC.

Correspondence was also sent to the sugar company, for the release of a portion of land some 200 acres behind Lusignan close to the prison, which could service all the NDCs between Better Hope and Buxton.

Further the REO told Stabroek News that the RDC had written to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), advising it of the need to cater for facilities such as garbage disposal sites when creating new housing schemes.

Some 20 tonnes of waste per month is accumulated in the Better Hope/LBI NDC, Deen said.

At Grove-Haslington where there is an absence of an area to dump refuse, residents are depositing their garbage on the roadside, Deen said. He said that the RDC is addressing the situation.

Anna Catherina dumpsite found

Meanwhile, a permanent dumpsite has been identified for Anna Catherina, West Coast Demerara (WCD), by the regional administrative authorities in Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara).

An application for use of the site has been forwarded to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whose go-ahead is necessary prior to the commencement of dumping.

Regional Chairman, Esau Dookie, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) recently that as soon as the process was completed the regional administration would move to make the area ready for garbage disposal. The 2.33-acre plot approved by the Ministry of Housing is near to another plot, which the region was said to be moving to acquire.

The proposed dumpsite when finally approved would cater for three NDCs on the WCD. Plans are afoot to acquire another site to cater for the West Bank Demerara.

Parika dumpsite

At Parika, East Bank Essequibo (EBE), plans are advanced for the creation of a dumpsite. Residents are however benefiting from garbage disposal services, which cost $100 per week.

The EPA has already visited the site. Further, the Bridgewater family has donated a five-acre plot at Rudy backdam for use as a landfill site. This, it was said will help to minimise the problem of litter at Parika.

The NDC will pay for the disposal of the garbage while the donor will complete the project. This arrangement is expected to last until the establishment of the official site.

Parika, a growing business hub, has always had a problem with the disposal of its waste especially from the vibrant market and newly established businesses.

With the advent of the new dumpsite, the problem of refuse being dumped on parapets and in drainage and irrigation canals and trenches is expected to be eliminated.

Meanwhile garbage collection is being undertaken once weekly from residential premises, while the service for market vendors and businesses is provided three times per week at a cost of $60 and $300 to $500 respectively depending on the amount of garbage.