September 2010
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Day September 16, 2010

Followup on Solid Waste

To follow up on my previous comments, I want to note and celebrate the leadership of Bob Myhr (Council District #6, Lopez) on this issue.  Not only is he speaking out about the impact that the $5 gate fee will have on the willingness to recycle, but he is strongly opposed to the “Zero Station” plan and will continue to oppose it.   Bob’s position is that we need 3 transfer stations (which may not be full “tipping floors”) on the three biggest islands for garbage and recycling.  How it gets funded, and how it moves from those facilities to leave the county, are open issues.

I strongly agree and support Bob in this line of reasoning, and I urge other islanders to consider supporting this and demanding a real plan we can consider and, if needed, vote upon.

A friend just wrote and said that I should also note that the unintended consequences of a “zero” or “one” policy need to be thoroughly discussed.  On islands with no transfer station, we will see a rise in illegal roadside dumping, attempts to dump trash and recycling in the dumpsters of local businesses, and so on.  We will see a drastic drop in our recycling.

And regardless of how much San Juan Sanitation increases their service level, we all have the occasional garage clean-out, or old refrigerator, or construction debris to deal with.  Where will this material go when we have no transfer station on our island?

The Council seems to suggest that this material will end up in our pickups, on the ferry, off to some other island or the mainland.  I suspect much of it won’t, and our islands will become thinly veiled dumpsites, but badly policed and uncontrolled dump sites.

Perhaps someone from the Visitor’s Bureau, the real estate profession, and other aspects of the tourism industry ought to weigh in on the issue and explain the importance of a clean, beautiful county to our local economy….