Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 16, 2012 - 12:03 pm

After $6.5M in spending, no satisfaction at CamBay landfill

Trash continues to blow around, open burning continues

JANE GEORGE
Open burning continues at the Cambridge Bay dump. Here two workers unload some cardboard. Another criticism of the new landfill: drivers risk damage to their vehicles because dangerous debris falls into the entrance, which is below the level of the garbage. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Open burning continues at the Cambridge Bay dump. Here two workers unload some cardboard. Another criticism of the new landfill: drivers risk damage to their vehicles because dangerous debris falls into the entrance, which is below the level of the garbage. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Here you can see a sign, in English and Innuinaqtun, which shows where to put honeybuckets and animal carcasses. A plastic bag is wrapped around the bottom of the sign. Some at a recent hamlet council meeting questioned the reasoning behind putting carcasses at the landfill because they could attract predators. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Here you can see a sign, in English and Innuinaqtun, which shows where to put honeybuckets and animal carcasses. A plastic bag is wrapped around the bottom of the sign. Some at a recent hamlet council meeting questioned the reasoning behind putting carcasses at the landfill because they could attract predators. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
There's a separate area for old tires at the Cambridge Bay dump, part of an effort to separate recyclable or reusable waste and reduce stress on the landfill. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
There's a separate area for old tires at the Cambridge Bay dump, part of an effort to separate recyclable or reusable waste and reduce stress on the landfill. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

CAMBRIDGE BAY — Cambridge Bay’s landfill continues to cause the hamlet headaches, despite a recent makeover that cost about $6.5 million.

The landfill looks good, with a variety of areas set aside for different kinds of reusable or recyclable waste, along with new blue and white signs in English and Inuinnaqtun.

But garbage continues to fly over the tundra, sometimes ending up in the nearby sewage lagoon, which was also upgraded during the project.

Plastic bags and other debris blow out of the landfill because the fence around the dump is too low and only extends around three sides.

Meanwhile, open burning continues, because there’s no other way to reduce the mass of garbage that still ends up in the dump, hamlet officials say.

The project to better manage solid waste in Cambridge Bay became critical after bulky waste from its former high school, which burned down in 1998, ended up in the dump.

The project, which exceeded its $5.3 million budget from the Government of Nunavut, also involved burying metal trash and other measures, such setting up separate areas for metal, tires, carcasses and honey buckets.

But, armed with a list of nearly a dozen problems and a move by councillors to complain, the hamlet of Cambridge Bay now plans to write the Government of Nunavut’s community and government services department outlining problems with the landfill.

At the same time, hamlet officials are working on a recycling and separation program for the community of 1,500 that would limit the amount of garbage that ends up at the landfill.

Yet it’s not only in Cambridge Bay that people are griping about their landfills. Mayors all over Nunavut have passed resolutions at regional mayors meetings asking for action.

But to bring the landfills up to par, the GN would have to spend at least $9 million per community.

In recent study, intended to advise its department of Community and Government Services on how to manage its landfills in a more sustainable manner, consultants looked at the state of landfills across the territory.

They visited 14 Nunavut communities, where they heard that people are worried about impacts on the environment from windblown litter and the health dangers associated with the open burning of trash, practiced in nearly every Nunavut community.

Residents in the majority of communities also said they’re worried that dumps are located too close to their homes.

Most said they were willing to participate in waste-reduction efforts, such as separation and recycling.

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