The government officially handed over the keys of the New Providence Landfill to Providence Advisors and Waste Resources Development Group (WRDG) yesterday.
As the group takes over management of the site, Minister of the Environment Romauld Ferreira asked Bahamians to give them a chance.
“Opinions don’t really matter, you’re absolutely right,” Ferreira said following a ceremony at the landfill.
“What matters are results. So give them a chance to prove themselves. They’ve just been here for three weeks. I think I see change already at the front, but you need to give them a chance to prove themselves.
“Its only been three weeks so be reasonable in the expectations and they will surpass.”
In February, the government signed an agreement with New Providence Ecology Park (NPEP), which comprises WRDG and Providence Advisors, for a $45 million multi-phased redevelopment of the New Providence Landfill.
There are 52 Bahamians working for NPEP.
NPEP Chairman Kenwood Kerr has said the landfill will be converted into “a purposefully engineered landfill and material recovery facility” featuring a park.
Yesterday, Kerr said his company’s primary goal is to eradicate the occurrence of fires at the dump.
“We’re using an EPA standard that’s common in North America, which is called a cap and cover process,” he said.
“So, what is required as we receive the waste streams on a daily basis, we cover it with an adequate amount of top soil or cover. That way you reduce the oxygen content, you reduce the gas build up [and] you reduce the opportunity for fires to occur on a daily basis.”
NPEP will also introduce its recycling program on New Providence in the next six months.
Ferreira said the new management company has to get it right.
“Where we stand now is approximately in the center of New Providence and so this site has the potential to positively or negatively impact every single person in New Providence, both residents and visitors alike,” Ferreira said.
“Let us not forget what precipitated all of this. Let us not forget the fire that forced evacuations, that had a dramatic impact on people’s homes, their health and ultimately their lives.”
In 2017, a fire at the landfill burned for three weeks and blanketed major portions of New Providence with smoke. The fire threatened several neighboring homes and became a major point during the 2017 general elections.