Delegation Visits Waste Management Facilities in Miami and CWWA Conference in Bahamas
A three-member delegation, headed by Commissioner Bruce Zagers, recently visited two waste management facilities in Miami to which Saba exports its recyclables.
Commissioner Zagers, Waste Management and Recycling Manager Camilo Usuga and Waste Management Facility Supervisor Patrick Hassell went to look at one waste management facility in Miami that specifically handles the plastics, cardboard and aluminum that have been separated on Saba and exported to Florida for proper handling. At this facility, the delegation was able to see how the waste-to-energy installation works as well as their sorting practices.
Metals from Saba go to a different facility, also in Miami. This is a facility that is specialized in recycling metals and appliances. The Saba delegation visited this facility to get first-hand information on how metals from Saba are being handled as well as information as to how the processes can be further improved in order to get more value.
“Getting the opportunity to see these operations, although on a much larger scale, helps to put our local processes into perspective. There is definitely a lot that we can learn and implement to make our operations more efficient. The long-term goal for our waste management remains to even further reduce the frequency of burning the residual waste so learning from industry experts is paramount,” stated Commissioner Zagers.
“The visit afforded us the opportunity to gain knowledge how our recyclables are handled. This helps us to improve the process at our waste management facility. Also, it is good to see where our recyclables go and that they are handled properly,” said Usuga.
Conference in the Bahamas
Waste Management and Recycling Manager Camilo Usuga and Saba Splash Manager Oscar van der Kaap, both representing the Public Entity Saba attended the 2022 Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) Conference and Exhibition in The Bahamas from October 18-21.
The CWWA was a large conference with more than 300 participants from across the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe. The conference featured plenary sessions with speakers, 60 plus region-specific technical sessions, as well as workshops and seminars. Many companies and organizations in the area of water, waste water management and waste management were present with a booth.
High level forum
“I was honored and proud to represent Saba at this event. Surrounded by many ministers representing their individual English-speaking islands and neighboring countries, and amazed to recognize that all of these had/have the same problems as to the proper use of their water sources,” said Van der Kaap.
During the 3-day high level forum, participants gave an update on progress that was made with their water infrastructure and water supplies. “As most islands learn to cope with so-called non-Revenue water, the loss of their product before it reaches to their consumers, we heard how each individual island has dealt with improvements to reduce this phenomenon,” said Van der Kaap.
Contacts were established with several ministers of islands that are volcanic like Saba, hearing first-hand what they experienced in their implementation of improvements in their water production. “Since there is no better way than to use the phrase ‘Don’t reinvent the wheel, it is safe to say that we can learn from our Caribbean counterparts in their quest to create safe healthy and reliable drinking water at the lowest cost possible for our own development plans. I hope my contribution to the many discussions that took place there would allow me to be reconsidered by the CWWA at their 32nd gathering in Guyana in 2023,” said Van der Kaap.
Usuga said the conference provided a good opportunity to gather information about waste management. “It was good to connect with the other islands and explore possibilities to work together, because we face similar issues. Too much waste on the landfills on some islands, what to do with plastics, the logistics and costs of exporting recyclables.” For some islands that have a single-use plastic ban like Saba, it is a challenge to find good, affordable alternatives.
“We got a lot of information, and we made a lot of connections, especially with surrounding islands. We talked about the connectivity issues that we face to export recyclables, and the different regulations in dealing with waste that vary per island since we are all different territories,” said Usuga. At the CWWA conference, an agreement was signed in which the islands committed to working together to reduce plastics.