Exxon Mobil’s Dumping Of Hazardous Waste Daily In Guyana?

exxon-land-fill-guyana
Haags Bosch landfill located at Eccles, Guyana.
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By Janette Bulkan

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Mar. 25, 2022: We recently learnt from the Guyana Department of Public Information that in the 2022 national budget $1.4 billion of public funds were allocated to deal with the stench and other management issues at the Haags Bosch landfill located at Eccles, East Bank Demerara, Guyana.

Further, that more than 450 tonnes of waste per day are dumped in ‘Cell one’ and ‘currently, cell two receives approximately 500 tonnes of waste per day, and based on its capacity, the cell’s shelf life has reduced from seven years to five years.’

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I ask Guyana Ministers Nigel Dharamlall and Anand Persaud the following questions:

  1. What kinds of wastes from the activities of XOM and its contractors and sub-contractors can be dumped safely at Haags Bosch? – that is, the site is licensed to deal safely and permanently with the constituent chemicals?
  2.  What kinds of wastes from the activities of XOM and its contractors and sub-contractors cannot be dumped safely at Haags Bosch? – that is, the site is not licensed to deal safely and permanently with the constituent chemicals?
  3. What happens to the toxic waste passed by XOM and its contractors and sub-contractors to Tiger Rentals Guyana Ltd. (see KN ‘EPA waives EIA requirement for hazardous waste treatment facility at  Houston’ 08 December 2021  where are these toxic wastes ultimately deposited and in what quantities?  What safety certificate covers the site of ultimate deposition.
  4. What is the current tonnage of waste dumped into Haags Bosch daily by ExxonMobil (XOM)? Has it exceeded the 35 tonnes reported in October 2021 from just the first FPSO, Liza Destiny? And, if yes, what is the current average in tonnes per day?
  5. As XOM is planning for 10 FPSOs, 9 of them with twice the capacity of Liza Destiny, that seems to imply a daily waste tonnage from XOM operations in the Stabroek Tract of 500+ tonnes per day by 2030, that is, greater than the whole of Georgetown’s current waste.  Where will that be dumped safely and permanently?
  6. What is the sum per tonne of waste that is billed to XOM or its contractors and subcontractors? Please supply a list of the invoices submitted per year and the corresponding receipts.
  7. What is the price per truckload of waste that is billed to XOM or its contractors or sub-contractors for usage of the Haags Bosch access road?
  8. If XOM is not being charged for dumping its offshore generated waste into Eccles, can the Minister(s) say why not?
  9.   Given the PPP’s electoral promise in its manifesto of January 2020 and given the confirmation of that promise in an interview by then Guyana Presidential candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali to negotiate a new contract with XOM, shouldn’t the comprehensive treatment of waste figure prominently in the new PSA?  Will the negotiators for Guyana propose the call from Ms Vanda Radzik – ‘take your waste back to Texas.’  
  10. The crude oil that is extracted from Guyana’s territory is transported to other countries. The waste is transported to our shores. What an unequal exchange. Guyana gets a degraded territorial sea, ExxonMobil’s trash, both hazardous and non-hazardous, and broken roadways; the residents of Eccles get the stench. Exxon and its partners get the petroleum.  

EDITOR’S NOTE: Janette Bulkan is Associate Professor, Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus in Canada.