Dump overflows toward road

The tall and getting taller pile of waste is closing in on the Batkan dump’s entrance every day as the landfill maxed out its available space several years ago. Photo: Giff Johnson.

GIFF JOHNSON

Shades of 2005 — when garbage was pouring out of the Batkan dump onto the main road, forcing drivers to veer around it — have returned to the Batkan dump.

For months, at a standstill on expansion or a new site, the dump has seen tons of garbage continue pouring into the facility. Mt. Majuro appears to be 100 feet tall, or higher, and the active garbage pile is within 30 feet of the road, moving closer daily. Despite the waste crisis, the dump has remained open.

Workers say the overnight drop-offs leave garbage within just a few feet of the front gate — a pile that has to be pushed back daily to make room just for Majuro Atoll Waste Company vehicles to get into the facility.

In the meantime, both MAWC and Public Works heavy equipment needed to deal with the looming trash are broken down this week.

Despite ongoing debate in Nitijela for months dating to last year, there is no long-term plan for either expanding the existing site or establishing a new one.

The lagoon side new landfill site has been languishing without action for months, but was approved for use last week by the RMI EPA — but has not yet been used to relieve space stress across the street at the main dump because heavy equipment is not immediately available.

“One cell (of the lagoon side area) is complete and ready for use,” said EPA General Manager Moriana Phillip. “RMIEPA was informed that what is needed now is equipment to help MAWC start filling (the new site).”

Under the landfill requirement Solid Waste Regulations 1989, MAWC was required to submit an operation plan for the new lagoon side dump area. The operation plan details management and operations including details on how and what type of waste is permitted into the lagoon, said Phillip.

Despite ongoing debate about the waste crisis, including the emergency declaration signed last year by President David Kabua, there has not been any movement on a new site.

“Subscribe”

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 553 other subscribers.