Member of Parliament for the Wheeland Constituency Hon. Kyle Knowles, says one of his top priorities in that constituency is to have the vexing problem of the haphazard landfill permanently corrected.
Speaking with NewslineTCI Hon. Knowles said as a resident of the area, the problem of the landfill secreting choking smoke and noxious gas sits uncomfortably with everyone in the area, and so, he is tirelessly toiling towards an amicable long-term solution.
A week and a half ago, residents of the area complained that an unbearable stench was once again coming from the dump, with some residents even advocating for a class-action lawsuit against the government for moving quicker to fix the vexing issue.
However, Knowles said he was working assiduously to undertake a suitable solution to the problem.
“Once I got wind of the stench that was coming from the solid waste facility, I immediately got on the phone with my colleague, the minister of health (Hon. Jamell Robinson). But I personally went down there (to the dump) to investigate, myself. Because I am a resident of the area, anything that affects them affects me,” he said.
He said the problem at that time was not from a fire but areas of hotspots on the landfill.
Landfill hotspots are areas of increased temperature that point to the presence, or likely future occurrence, of subsurface fires. They can be detected in several ways, including changes in leachate temperature, higher surface temperature readings, escaping gas or smoke and unusual cap settlement.
“We were able to identify that it wasn’t a fire…there were various hotspots, where there were various emissions coming from the ground that needed to be covered.
“And this is a part of the normal process of the operation of the landfill. So, we made sure that those areas got the necessary attention, but we are monitoring it on a daily basis so that we are able to have better control over the area,” he explained, revealing that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has started a study on not just the landfill in Providenciales but across the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“Needless to say that the CDB Study has begun. I am the current chair of the Solid Waste Taskforce, but in the interim, we are trying to mitigate (the effects with) small fix here and there, before we could come up with some result for the major fix.
“The fix that we are coming up with is not just for Providenciales, it is for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Rome was not built in a day…we will be faced with these challenges,” he said.
He added: “It is a matter I campaigned on, and I want to know that when we fix it, we fix it correctly. We don’t want to go (make haste) and fix it and fix it the wrong way,” MP Knowles reasoned.
He said that a timeline as to when corrective work would commence on the landfill could be identified in the coming weeks.
“But in the next two weeks – once I assembled a townhall meeting in my constituency – I will be able to speak more in-depth, and to give a more strategic timeline of what would happen, once I would have had my meetings with my team and the Ministry of Health, going forward,” he said.