PHILIPSBURG - In investigating the situation at the Sanitary Landfill on Pond Island a.k.a. The Dump, the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) has been informed that there are several water pumps currently in working condition at the Dump, the business representative organization said in a press statement. These are used to pump water from the Great Salt Pond in case of fires.
The association is urging Government to initiate the use of these pumps and to purchase a sprinkler system (similar to those water canon type sprinkler systems used by large hotels on the island) to keep the Dump perpetually wet.
Keeping the Dump wet will help prevent fires thus reducing the toxic fumes that are being emitted from the Dump on a daily basis. The Dump being kept wet will also keep the toxic ashes from becoming airborne and poisoning our community.
While indeed those in the immediate vicinity suffer the most, the entire island experiences ash at different times depending on the wind conditions. The most recent volcanic like eruption on March 22nd had reports of ash in Cupecoy and Marigot.
The Dump can easily be classified as a national health crisis and as such Government should allocate emergency funds towards preventing fires and outing the daily toxic smoke that is poisoning the populace.
The SHTA is reminding Government of its primary duty to safeguard the health of its population as laid down in Articles 18.1, 18.2, 21.1 and 22 of the Constitution of St. Maarten. The present situation cannot and should not be allowed to continue without some immediate action even if interim to reduce the hazard to all of our health.
The suggested interim measure of a sprinkler system should be a prelude to a more permanent solution such as the integrated waste management system advocated by the Social Economic Council (SER) in their recent advice (SER/16/GR/080) to Government.
The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information, please contact our office at 542-0108 or visit our website at www.shta.com
PHOTO CUTLINE: SHTA Photo of Pond Island Landfill. (Contributed)