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Waste Management Strategic Outline Case now approved

Fig 2 Sect 2The Strategic Outline Case (SOC) for the Cayman Islands Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS) has been released to the public this week. Prepared by the Steering Committee for the ISWMS, the SOC was approved by Cabinet earlier this month.

The SOC provides the facts and history of the solid waste management situation in the Cayman Islands, serving to inform the procurement process for the Integrated Solid Waste Management System.

Government will next issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant to develop a national solid waste management strategy, as well as an outline business case (OBC) for an integrated solid waste management system. Independent consultancy is also required by Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR), and the consultant will work closely with the Steering Committee and will refer to all the past studies and reports commissioned prior to this point.

The Ministry of Health is committed to following the procurement process laid down in the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR).

To this end, technical experts from various government and private sector agencies, who sit on the Steering Committee for the project, developed the document and will oversee the process of finding an integrated solid waste management solution.

CIG Solid W Study FPMembers include representatives from the Ministry of Health, Department of Environmental Health, Department of Environment, Ministry of Finance, Public Works Department, Public Health Department, Water Authority, Planning Department, and one private sector representative.

The committee will further be responsible for ensuring that the project encompasses five key stages also required by the FFR. These are the appraisal and business case, procurement, contract management, delivery and evaluation.

Minister responsible for Health Hon Osbourne Bodden thanked the Steering Committee for its hard work and assistance in preparing the SOC.

Assuring the public that the search for a waste management solution would remain transparent throughout, Minister Bodden added that his Ministry will issue regular updates throughout the process.

Although the SOC is being released to the public for informational purposes at this point, Government will undertake the comprehensive public consultations through the process of developing the national solid waste management strategy, and again when the outline business case is developed.

Fig 1 Sect 2Acknowledging that, the country’s landfills have reached a critical point that needs to be urgently addressed, Mr Bodden adds that: “The SOC is a key step towards the development of a solid waste strategy that will comprehensively and sensitively manage waste in the Cayman Islands for the next 50 years.”

For a copy of the SOC visit or

The following are the first 2 sections from the study showing the Project Overview and the Aims, Needs and Objectives

Section 1: Project Overview

1.1       Policy directive

On 6th December 2013, the Cayman Islands Government (hereafter referred to as CIG) issued a policy directive1for the development of a Comprehensive Solid Waste Disposal Management System for all three islands.

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), in addressing global waste initiatives, uses the nomenclature: Integrated Solid Waste Management. Integrated Solid Waste Management refers to the strategic approach to sustainable solid wastes covering all sources and aspects, covering generation, transfer, sorting, treatment, recovery and disposal in an integrated manner, with an emphasis on maximising resource use efficiency.

Table of contentsAccordingly, using the same nomenclature, an Integrated Solid Waste Management (hereafter referred to as “ISWMS”) Steering Committee2 was convened in January 2014 and, along with an ISWMS Technical Sub-Committee, the policy directive was used to form the basis for this strategic outline case (SOC) for the project.

1.2       Project Objectives

The main objectives of the project are to:

1 Develop a solid waste strategy for the Cayman Islands for the next 50 years which:

a.   Is guided by the concepts embodied in the internationally recognized and accepted Waste Hierarchy and the principles outlined in Section 2.2;

b. takes account of input from all key stakeholders;

1 Appendix 1: Cabinet Policy Guidance

2 Appendix 2:I SWMS Steering Committee

c. includes provision for changing waste quantities due to natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances;

d.   minimises environmental and public health risks e.g. groundwater pollution,   air pollution, odours, noise, fires, pests, dust and other pollutants and amenity issues;

e.   develops a local regulatory framework which meets internationally recognised environmental standards and guidelines; and

f. identifies, characterises and addresses the environmental risks and impacts resulting from current solid waste management practices.

2 Identify and Implement an ISWMS that Is based on the nationally agreed Strategy

1.3 Project Background

The Cayman Islands: location and population

The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean Sea. The three islands are situated about 480 miles (770 km) south of Miami,150 miles (240 km) south of Cuba, and 180 miles (290 km) northwest of Jamaica. Grand Cayman is the largest and most populated, with an area of 76 square miles (197 km 2 . The two 11 Sister Islands 11 of Cayman Brae and little Cayman are located about 90 miles (145 km) northeast of Grand Cayman and have areas of 14 square miles (36 km2) and 10 square miles (25.9 km2) respectively. Each island has its own landfill.

The estimated resident population of the Cayman Islands is 56,732 (From the Economic and Statistics Office (ESO) 2012 labour Force Survey report). The annual population of the Cayman Islands fluctuates from the permanent resident level due to the high number of visitors to the islands. The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (DOT) 2013 tourism numbers are as follows: 345,387 for stay over visitors (air arrivals) and 1,375,872 for cruise arrivals. The major cruise lines projections for cruise arrivals in the year 2014 is 1.8M, and in the year 2015 is 2.1M.

1.4 Current solid waste management Infrastructure at the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) The DEH’s current infrastructure3 consists of three (3) landfills, one on each island; two (2) medical waste incinerators, one (1) air curtain incinerator, one (1) welding and maintenance area, one (1) vehicle washing bay, and a recycling I processing area for selected recyclables. Grand Cayman’s landfill receives the largest quantity of waste, annually.   DEH is also responsible for the collection of solid waste in all three islands.

There is one landfill on Grand Cayman that receives approximately 225 short tons per day (82,125 short tons per annum) of all types of new solid waste and recyclable products. This includes about 120 short tons per day (43,800 short tons per annum) of new municipal solid waste (MSW).

The Sister Islands generate a combined 3,220 short tons of solid waste on an annual basis. Cayman Brae is approximately 2,500 short tons per year and little Cayman is approximately 720 short tons per year.

3 Appendix 3: Landfills’ data in the Cayman Islands

The DEH’s operational revenues are obtained from funds received through   “up-front” solid waste management fees on imported goods, vehicles and tires disposal fees, commercial container servicing and rental fees, and funds allocated by core Government. All operational expenses are paid from these revenue sources. There are no franchise collection contracts or service agreements in existence with the DEH. Most commercial and residential garbage collection is undertaken by the DEH along with some private haulers. Currently, no tipping fees are charged for landfill disposal.   Solid waste that is not recycled or separated is disposed of or managed onsite at the DEH’s landfills. There are issues with the reliability of the existing equipment at the GT landfill, with several key pieces of equipment in need of repair or replacement.

Cayman Islands policy for solid waste management is driven by the Public Health Law and Regulations as well as components of other laws to protect the environment and public health. There is no separate national policy, law or regulations for the management of the solid waste in the Cayman Islands other than what is included in the general Public Health Law. There is a need for a national strategy for solid waste management in relation to the environment, public health and the economy. Comprehensive legislation is required to support the strategy and to regulate the solid waste industry.

1.5 Previous studies, proposals and reports

Previously, various studies, proposals and reports have been undertaken 4 to address various aspects of solid waste management. A previous Request for Proposals (RFP) was advertised in 2010 that sought a comprehensive solid waste management system, which included waste to energy technology. No contract was awarded as a result of that RFP and it appears as though no objective business case that considered financial, technical and environmental aspects has been carried out to date.

In 2011 CIG received a proposal from a private developer to close the George Town Landfill and to develop a new waste management system in Bodden Town.   This project was the subject of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), with public consultation, on the draft Environmental Statement (which is the written output of the EIA) in April 2013. The new CIG, elected in May 2013, took a policy decision not to pursue the private developer’s initiative of 2011.

1.6 An overview of objectives

The country’s landfills have reached a critical point at which they need to be addressed. The CIG urgently needs to move forward with a process to identify ISWMS to address the country’s needs in a sustainable manner.

The CIG and DEH’s goal is to provide the Cayman Islands with a cost-effective ISWMS.

The strategic aims and policy objectives, along with project objectives, are fully outlined in Section 2.

1.7 Procurement overview

CIG does not have the ability to undertake conventional borrowing, therefore, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement is likely. Private sector partner(s) will be identified via a competitive procurement process. In 2012 the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR) was incorporated into the Public Management and Finance Law (PMFL). The FFR states that Projects with a life cycle value above Cl $10M and for those where the Pubic Private Partnerships (PPPs) or any other form of alternative financing is used, the CIG will retain independent accounting, legal, financial, economic, environmental, and other technical advice to ensure value for money.   All projects now require an objective business case to be prepared which considers technical and financial aspects.

Section 2: Aims, Needs, Objectives & Constraints

2.1       Strategic aims and broad policy objectives

The strategic aim is to provide the Country with a national solid waste strategy and a cost-effective, Integrated Solid Waste Management system which:

  • adheres to the principles of the internationally accepted hierarchy of solid waste management

(see Figure 1);

  • minimises the risks of immediate and future environmental pollution and harm to human health; and
  • accommodates the islands growth over a SO year period, with interim reviews every 5 years.

Figure 1:Waste Hierarchy from

Policy guidance provided by the Cabinet (Appendix 1) speaks to providing the Cayman Islands with an environmentally sound and cost neutral (i.e. at no greater cost than existing) solid waste management solution that:

  • integrates programmes for collection, processing, recycling and disposal, with WTE as the preferred core technology; and
  • balances public and private sector services in order to ensure public health and safety and protect the environment ;and
  • for the island of Grand Cayman, is located at the current George Town landfill site; and
  • takes into consideration the needs of all three islands; and
  • Utilises a Public Private Partnership (PPP) if applicable.

These aims and objectives are supported by the provisions of the Strategic Policy Statement (SPS)

2014/15 which states:

‘The development of a modern solid waste management facility is crucial to the long term environmental health of the Cayman Islands. The present landfill is quickly exceeding Its ability to service the needs of the country and a solution has to be found. The Government is committed to conducting the necessary reviews to identify an appropriate solution which will likely involve some form of public private partnership In order to finance and Implement.”

The SPS also outlines desired broad outcomes, which relate to the issue of solid waste management, namely:

Broad Outcome 5: MODERN,SMART INFRASTRUCTURE, specifically: d) Develop a modern waste management facility that includes waste to energy and recycling. via PPP;

Broad Outcome 8: A CULTURE OF GOOD GOVERNANCE specifically: b) Implementing revised procurement standards for the public sector bringing them in line with international best practice; and dJ return the Cayman Islands to fiscal responsibility by meeting all of the targets required under the PMFL:



2.2 Project need

2.2.1 National solid waste management strategy

There is a need to research and develop a formal, nationally agreed strategy to address the Islands’ long term goals for solid waste management. The National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS) should be guided by the following principles:

(1) Sustainable Management- Management of the waste in such a manner not to compromise the needs of future generations.

(2) Waste Hierarchy – The implementation strategy will be based on these preferences: (i) Waste prevention I reduction;(ii) Re-use,(iii) Recycling,(iv) Recovery,(v) Disposal.

(3) Polluter/Waste Generator Pays Concept- Polluters and waste Generators should bear full responsibility with relevant costs.

(4) Environmental Consideration- solid waste management practices should be environmentally sound, to avoid potential damage or harm to human health and the environment in the future.

(5) Climate Change – Pursue opportunities for energy from waste and manage the waste in such a manner as to reduce green-house gas (GHG) emissions.

{6) Generation Proximity – Economies of scale approach should be used to determine best waste management option in relation to waste generation proximity.

{7) Incorporate Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO)- Obtain the most benefits for the least damage to the environment, as a whole.

(8) Utilise Waste as an Energy Resource- Reduce the need to use fossil fuels and new materials.

(9) Adopt a Collaborative Approach- Government will encourage and facilitate partnership with all stakeholders.

The strategy should apply to all three islands, whereas consideration should be given to develop Little Cayman as a “zero solid waste” disposal island, given its special characteristics and affinity for eco­ tourism.

To enable and maintain an effective, integrated and sustainable solid waste management strategy everyone must participate inclusive of residents, Government, NGO’s, and private sector. This will include expanded partnerships and collaboration between the government and the private sector.

The success of the project will depend on a targeted and sustained communications and education strategy, which will ensure that all stakeholders are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and information to be actively engaged with the process. This will help to promote those key behavioural changes that will be necessary to effectively implement the NSWMS.

The Ministry with responsibility for the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) should own the NSWMS, which should then be implemented and operated by the relevant CIG agencies.

2.2.2   Integrated solid waste management system

The landfills on all three islands are non-engineered and unlined and do not meet the key principles of sustainable waste management. Further, in the absence of a solid waste management strategy or plan, there is no planned approach to future solid waste management to ensure that it is carried out in a cost­ effective and environmentally responsible manner. There is also no appropriate policy or legislative framework for the regulation of the solid waste management practices.

Risks and impacts arising from current solid waste management practices need to be properly defined and characterised so that proper remediation and mitigation strategies can be identified and implemented.

In 1992 Post, Buckley Schuh & Jernigan were commissioned by CIG to carry out an environmental investigation of the George Town landfill. The investigations found heavy metals (chromium and iron) and PCBs present in sediment samples in a canal adjacent to the landfill. Iron, chromium and mercury were found in algae, mangrove and sea grass samples and, mercury was found in fish samples at higher levels than expected. Whilst none of the concentrations were yet at toxic levels, these results were obtained 20 years ago and at that time, the report recommended that

“the results should be used as a motivating force to limit the discharge of leachate to surface waters around the landfill and to further investigate the distribution of contaminants on near­ shore commercial marine species”.

In terms of sediments, the report also advised further investigation of heavy metal contamination. The DEH has carried out limited groundwater monitoring around the   landfill which has produced inconclusive results.

There have been no environmental investigations carried out on the Sister Islands to determine the occurrence and/or extent of surface and ground water as well as soil contamination. In addition, odour issues and visual impacts for residents and visitors, health and safety issues (including fire hazards, dust, vermin and vectors) and impacts associated with the illegal dumping of waste all require attention.

Figure 2:The GT landfill seen from a visiting cruise ship from

2.3     Project objectives

The main objectives of the project are to:

1) Develop a solid waste strategy for the Cayman Islands for the next SO years which:

a.   Is guided by the concepts embodied in the internationally recognized and accepted

Waste Hierarchy and the principles outlined in Section 2.2;

b.   takes account of input from all key stakeholders;

c..   includes provision for changing waste quantities due to natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances;

d.   minimises environmental and public health risks e.g. groundwater pollution, air pollution, odours, noise, fires, pests, dust and other pollutants and amenity issues;

e.   develops a local regulatory framework which meets internationally recognised environmental standards and guidelines; and

f.   identifies, characterises and addresses the environmental risks and impacts resulting from current solid waste management practices.

2) Identify and Implement an ISWMS that Is based on the nationally agreed Strategy

2.4       Project constraints

Financing: Under the Public Management and Finance Law, (2013 revision) (PMFL) the Government is unable to finance an ISWMS through conventional borrowing methods. Therefore, in order to deliver the project, the CIG will need to consider alternative financing models including Public Private Partnership arrangement.

Environmental: The unique characteristics of the islands (e.g. karst geology, substantial wetland areas, hurricane and climate change vulnerability, limited suitable land availability) present challenges to the project.

Lack of alignment of key stakeholders (CIG, private sector solid waste management companies and the public at large) on an agreed strategy for the future of solid waste management: The absence of a solid waste management strategy or plan has resulted in a series of ad hoc solid waste management proposals being submitted to CIG over the past 20 years. None of the projects have come to fruition and there is a growing frustration from surrounding landowners, members of the public and political decision makers. A lack of public support for the project would decrease the chances of success.

Public Education: There is a disparity in the level of public awareness and understanding of sustainable solid waste management practices and the limitations of managing waste on small islands e.g. challenges of recycling.

Land Ownership Constraints: The limited availability of land owned by the CIG is a potential constraint. Institutional Capacity: Aging DEH plant and equipment, no appropriate regulatory framework and limited in-house human resources with an appropriate level of training and expertise are significant challenges for the successful delivery of the project.

Legislation: Legislation may be necessary to properly regulate all aspects and operations of the NSWMS, and the legislation must be effective and have regulations that are practical to implement and enforce, to protect environmental and public health. Existing legislation is limited and is lacking in many areas of waste management especially for bio-medical and nuclear waste. New laws and regulations may need to be promulgated to regulate the private and public entities and to deal with all aspects of solid waste.



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