As the New Providence Ecology Park (NPEP) is on the eve of celebrating its one-year anniversary, its Chairman Felix Stubbs announced yesterday that as of April it will donate $5,000 per month for “at least” one year to the Ministry of Environment to any other programs that the ministry deems necessary.
He also said that it will donate a total of $50,000 – of which $22,000 has already been given – toward the Ministry of the Environment’s plastic ban initiative in a show of support.
While taking the prime minister and other government officials on a tour of the park, which was previously the New Providence Landfill yesterday, Stubbs touted the progress that has been made at the site in the last year.
“In less than 12 months, we have transformed one of the most significant longstanding environmental and social hazards in The Bahamas into a clean, compacted and revitalized ecosystem,” he said.
“Using simple improvement strategies, we have successfully delivered stable, consistent and cost-effective solutions. Chronic problems that plagued residents in the neighboring communities and Nassauvians at large for many years are now a thing of the past.”
Stubbs said that $10 million has been spent so far in the development of the site, but that more funds are needed for the group to achieve its goal.
He noted that the developments made include: transforming the site into “a clean, safe and organized park”; creating and maintaining roads within the site; establishing specific treatment areas for different types of waste received; implementing traffic controls and 24-hour security; and implementing a program where organic waste such as cardboard is converted into soil.
Large fires at the dump have been a problem for years, however, with the redevelopment of the park, Stubbs noted that such risk has been greatly reduced.
NPEP Project Manager Timothy Hodge said that while there have been a few small fires, which he said were natural, the park has taken steps to ensure that those were addressed quickly.
He highlighted that the site has its own fire truck and has built a “fire water” pond so that it can quickly take action – a difference from what he claimed the group met when it took over last year, as he said the 95 acres of “open garbage” prevented fire services personnel from being able to quickly access fires in the past.
“A lot of what we talked about is right now we’ve really remained into phase one of the project with, I think, some very good results, some real transformation of the site from the way we met it,” Hodge said.
“And we’re just getting ready to roll out some of our new initiatives like recycling, composting, hazardous waste handling and some other endeavors like that.”
According to Stubbs, among those projects the group will engage in over the next six months will be: an “improved data collection system for tracking materials coming in and out of the site; a recycling program that will accept cans, glass, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and mixed paper; a robust composting program that will turn rubbish into compost and soil that will help rehabilitate the site and support landscaping and agriculture in The Bahamas; and an e-waste recycling program to properly manage computers and other electronics and keep them out of the landfill”.
Other NPEP officials also noted that in the long run the group would like to plant “native vegetation” to cover the top of one hill at the site, generate power from methane created by some of the waste and introduce nature trails or educational tours of the park.
Government handed over management of the landfill to Providence Advisors and Waste Resources Development Group (WRDG) last year.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, Minister of Works Desmond Bannister, Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira and Tall Pines MP Don Saunders were among the government officials present for the tour.
Minnis praised the site as “a miraculous transformation”, while Saunders said that residents in his constituency – who were previously the most impacted by the fires at the landfill – were very happy with the progress made.
Stubbs added that the group is looking forward to continuing to develop in the future.
“Today, we’re on the crest of our first anniversary, which is March 15, on Sunday, and we celebrate the strides we have made,” he said.
“Through our collective efforts, NPEP is becoming one of the best facilities of its kind in the region.
“Our vision to create a lush, 300-acre ecology and industrial park that will reap economic, social and environmental gains for Bahamians to come is taking shape.”