The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held a seminar with technicians from all the municipalities and municipal districts to socialize the guidelines that must be complied with in order to operationalize solid waste disposal sites.
At the opening ceremony of the meeting, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Miguel Ceara Hatton, emphasized that “the challenge of achieving an integrated management of solid waste cannot be postponed and has been assumed as a priority by the current government of the Dominican Republic; for this we are moving forward in new final disposal sites through public-private partnerships, as well as the closure and rehabilitation of existing landfills with the support of the DO Sostenible trust fund”.
“This challenge must be embraced by all of society as a whole under the leadership of this Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, to eliminate in the shortest possible time the risk and environmental liability that open-air landfills represent,” highlighted Ceara Hatton.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Minister of Environmental Management, Indhira de Jesús, explained that “in this seminar we are presenting the results of the project and the products that the project leaves us with”. In that order, there is now a series of manuals that will provide guidance to the municipalities and municipal districts of the Dominican Republic.
“Anyone who is going to work on the issue of final disposal of solid waste will find the technical guidelines to be able to design new sanitary landfills, for the operation of new sanitary landfills, but also for the closure or decommissioning or rehabilitation of existing final disposal sites,” said De Jesús.
“In our country we have a number of open dumps that we need to close in an adequate manner and that we need to replace with final disposal sites that comply with the technical conditions established by our legislation”, said the vice minister.
Through this seminar, the contents of the “National Plan for the Management of Final Disposal Sites (PNSDF) 2023 – 2033” and of four technical manuals that have been elaborated within the framework of the referred project, which started in 2020 and is expected to be completed this November 2023, were shared.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Japanese ambassador, Masahiro Takagi; the resident representative of JICA, Kota Sakaguchi; the vice-minister of Environmental Management, Indhira de Jesús; Clara Aquino, general director of Bilateral Cooperation of Mepyd; the executive director of the Dominican Federation of Municipalities (Fedomu), and the executive director of the Dominican Federation of Municipal Districts, Pedro Richardson.
Ambassador Masahiro Takagi highlighted the importance of cooperation between the countries. “We are already sharing our experience through measures against climate change and environmental conservation with the Dominican Republic.”
Meanwhile, Kota Sakaguchi, resident representative of JICA, positively valued the objectives achieved through the implementation of the Focigirs 2 project.
“I am very pleased that through this type of program Japan and the Dominican Republic are cooperating to conserve the environment and treat waste and residues correctly,” Sakaguchi said.
Clara Aquino, director of Bilateral Cooperation of the Mepyd, expressed her satisfaction with the realization of seminars like these in which “we can share and learn about the progress achieved and the technical instruments of management for the cycles of final disposal of solid waste, whose work has allowed and will allow the protection of natural resources, the reduction of pollution and the increase of the useful life of the landfill”.
The seminar, which took place over two days at the Crown Plaza Hotel, was attended by guests from all the municipalities and municipal districts of the country, specifically the technical personnel responsible for the urban sanitation service, as well as other public and private entities involved in the subject.
It was given by the technical staff of the Ministry of the Environment and the Dominican Municipal League, which was in charge of the elaboration of the referred instruments, with the support of a team of 8 Japanese experts.
The problem of open dumps is a high priority issue on the agenda of the present government, as President Luis Abinader has indicated on several occasions.
JICA has been cooperating on this issue since the 1990s and currently, in addition to the Focigirs-2 Project, is collaborating with the preparation of the technical closure of the Duquesa landfill, which is being carried out with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).