Statia commits to purchase of new waste incinerator

On April 28th, the Executive Council has agreed to the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Public Entity of
St. Eustatius and Matthews Environmental Solutions, from Florida, USA. The MOU outlines the process of purchasing an incinerator.

The new incinerator, able to burn 500 Kg of waste per hour, is fundamental to realizing Statia’s ambitions in modernizing waste management. “Waste processing has proven to be one of the major challenges in the past 25 years. With the purchase of the incinerator in our reach, we continue to break ground. But we will need to work together as a community to manage our waste, so that we can become the sustainable island we strive to be”, says Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij.

In 2014, in consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management; a waste facility was constructed. In 2018 a service agreement was signed with EJL Services. Waste bins were put in place, and house-to-house collection with containers was implemented. As the management of waste improved, so did the quality of the living environment on Statia, subsequently  vermin and other hygiene related health risks decreased.

Through dialogue between the Directorate of Economy nature and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, in 2019just over 1 million USD was approved for the purchasing of a new incinerator. The new incinerator will be able to process a higher volume of waste as compared to the current incinerator.. This will significantly reduce the volume of waste at the dumpsite.

In an effort to further rid the environment of debris and undesirables, waste that was dumped and covered in prior years can be dug up and processed, to restore the environment. With additional equipment, the incinerator has the potential to filter and  generate energy  to reduce its impact to the environment.
The new incinerator is part of the next phase in modernizing waste management on Statia. Additionally, a number of projects aimed at improving the process of waste management is launched. For instance, adding an extra loading device that feeds the incinerator and moves glass racks and completed bales, can improve the processed quantities significantly. A shredder that can handle wood, metal and aluminum can streamline compacting waste, so that stored waste takes up less space.

This is necessary, because on a small island like St. Eustatius, waste management is a challenge. Space is limited. Scrap metal and other types of waste that cannot be processed on the island, have to be transferred to neighboring islands. The relatively small amounts of waste due to a small community make it challenging to organize collections.
“Statia's ambition is to grow into a ‘green’ island, which is attractive to eco-tourists. Waste processing is part of an approach to ‘going green’, together with green energy and environmental protection. The purchase of the incinerator is part of this approach, in order to protect the environment when managing waste. Burning is only a last measure in. Besides focusing on the processing of waste, a further reduction and improvement of recycling are needed as well.” says deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis.

Currently, OLE is working with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to develop a policy for single use plastics and its effect on the environment. To limit the amount of waste on the island and minimize the impact on the environment, attitude and behavior of the community is eminent. It is important to intercept and collect recyclable waste flows, like glass, tinplate and cardboard. Currently, awareness about separation, recycling and limiting waste among Statians is already fairly high. To further improve the way waste is managed by the public, a campaign will start later this year, including tailor made lessons in schools, a radio campaign and the release of a documentary about Statia’s waste facility.