Last Wednesday a four-day inaugural Caribbean Waste to Energy Conference and Exposition began in Grenada with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell pointing out that Grenada is fully committed to working towards having a zero-waste country. The conference’s theme, ‘Energy Services From Waste: The Development of a Regional Integrated Organic Waste Management Sector’, outlines that there are aims to promote improved management of waste for the protection of the environment and the strengthening of coastal resilience to climate change impacts.
At the conference that is intended to improve understanding that effectively managed waste can be renewable resource, Dr. Mitchell told the attendees that it was necessary for the island to employ a policy as such so that sustainable management of waste in the region can be provided a structure.
“We recognise that waste is a valuable resource, an important source of energy, and that the current waste management practices are resulting in an economy and citizenry that are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” Prime Minister Mitchell said. “A critical issue is that in the majority of Caribbean countries, imported petroleum is the chief source of primary commercial energy, while vast renewable energy resources remain to be developed.”
Dr. Mitchell highlighted that while global oil prices are now at their lowest levels in over a decade, high and generally unpredictable oil prices have consistently retarded the competitiveness of regional goods and services.
“Scarce foreign exchange earnings that are being spent by our countries to pay for energy imports could be otherwise directed to alleviating poverty, adapting to climate change and sea level rise, or finance other critical interventions which are necessary for building our social, economic and climate resilience; thus increasing our ability to recover and respond which is the cornerstone of sustainable development,” he suggested.
The agenda list for the conference also touched on how to deal with the liquid/effluent waste problem that is plaguing all countries and is manifested in the erosion of beaches, oceans and the destruction of the agricultural base. As the minister with responsibility for Science and technology within CARICOM, Mitchell said that by turning pollution into energy, the region can resist contamination of coral reefs and fisheries, and give them a chance to recover.
“By recycling the waste nutrients on land, we can avoid the need to import fertilisers,” he told the participants.
The complete objective of the conference includes updating participants on the advances in conversion technology and the new opportunities to establish small – and medium-scale enterprises; providing information, learning comptia linux+ plus certification on potential financing mechanism for projects that covers the thematic areas of waste-water energy and identifying additional potential organic waste-to-energy projects across the region.