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Dec 8, 2004

GOB finally tackles garbage problem

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Whether you live in San Ignacio, Belmopan, Dangriga, or Belize City, at some point you would have been forced to breathe the sickening smoke of a burning garbage dump. But help may be on the way. Nearly a decade after the project was first outlined in collaboration with the IDB, Belize will begin to comprehensively tackle its mounting problem with waste. At least that’s the word from cabinet, which today announced the appointment of a Solid Waste Management Authority. Chaired by Belize City Mayor David Fonseca, the Authority will recruit administrative and technical staff to implement a solid waste management plan. We are not certain what that plan entails, although initial studies commissioned by the IDB recommended a major sanitary landfill at mile twenty-seven on the Western Highway. Under that plan, refuse would be trucked to the site from Belmopan, San Ignacio and Benque Viejo, while garbage from San Pedro and Caye Caulker would be barged to Belize City where it would be added to the city’s trash and similarly sent up the highway in huge containers to the modern disposal installation. Viewers may recall that four years ago government introduced a one percent “plastic tax” which later changed names to become an “environmental tax”. That money, under the original IDB proposal, would have been specifically earmarked to fund the solid waste management programme; instead, it went into Belmopan’s consolidated revenue fund. According to today’s cabinet release, personnel from the ministries of Health, Works, National Development and Local government have been given the task of working out a budget to initially fund a secretariat for the Authortity.

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