The Philipsburg land fill burned like a raging inferno all through the night into Saturday morning spraying toxic fumes over the city of Philipsburg and beyond. Residents in town often complain of the difficulty sleeping or just being at home and having to inhale the poisonous air.
The dump and its location has been a continuous point of discussion among environmentalists and health enthusiasts who continue to debate the need to find a permanent solution for such an environmental disaster right in the heart of the great Salt Pond which is situated in the capital city of Philipsburg. Every political party when campaigning has always brought this to their political platform as a promise that they will address, to date the citizens of this country still have to be exposed to the hazardous smoke and the periodical explosions at the site whenever it’s on fire. No one can say for sure what exactly the popping sound heard is whenever there is a fire of this kind but it sure can’t be safe when everything not in use is dumped there and not even sorting the material waist forms part of the process of waste management on the Island.
For quite some time there have not been any fires burning out of control at the dump site but not having fires should not be seen as the solution for having the land fill remain in the same condition while the hill keeps growing into a mountain. These recent fires only confirm that we must see this for what it is (a disaster) and solve this problem quickly. It is not something remote or political and shouldn’t be taken lightly but ought to be on every leader’s priority list as an urgent health concern for everyone and it’s the correct thing to do for St. Maarten especially as a tourism destination. Reconstruction of the country after hurricane Irma should present the possibility for a project coming out of the relief funds that would once and for all put a structure in place to deal with our waste especially since so much more garbage has accumulated and placed elsewhere after the passing of hurricane Irma, which we must get rid of.