Solid-waste plan failing to solidify
The city's proposal for disposing of trash is 10 months late
For months the City Council has heard city officials talk about a 25-year plan for the island's solid waste.
But some councilmembers say that's all it is -- talk.
A city ordinance signed last year required the city Department of Environmental Services to submit a 25-year integrated solid-waste management plan by Jan. 1, 2007, on policies dealing with shipping and disposing trash.
With no plan 10 months after the deadline, some councilmembers introduced a resolution yesterday that urges the city's lawyers to get involved, including the power to sue the administration to force action.
"From my perspective, when I saw the resolution, I thought obviously the rest of the Council is feeling the same way I am, which is utter frustration," said Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall. "The whole municipal solid-waste issue is one of the most important facing the island. The whole idea of what we do with our opala (trash) is a constant thing that's not going to go away."
Seven of the nine councilmembers signed the resolution, which does not have the binding effect of law if passed. The two councilmembers who did not sign the resolution were Nestor Garcia and Gary Okino, chairman of the Council's committee that creates policies relating to solid waste.
"We're disappointed we didn't get (the plan) sooner," Okino said, "but I don't think (the department) is doing anything to delay it or avoid doing this. As far as I could tell, they have been earnestly working on it."
City spokesman Bill Brennan said the department has been working on the plan; however, it has been continually updated as new ideas are introduced, such as shipping waste. The department's director, Eric Takamura, could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.
Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz said the resolution's approval could result in the Council filing suit against the city administration to require compliance with the ordinance.
"Hopefully we won't have to get to that," Dela Cruz said, "but right now they're in violation of the law. By having a long-term plan, it'll be easier for the city to budget and work towards achieving that plan."
Issues that some councilmembers said they would like to see addressed by the long-term plan include technologies to dispose of solid waste, such as turning trash to power, landfill sites and recycling initiatives.