Monday , March 20 2023

Zagers deeply disappointed about landfill fire

The Daily Herald writes that Commissioner Bruce Zagers issued a prompt message Wednesday evening, addressing the car-tire fire set ablaze near the Fort Bay landfill.

The toxic smog that engulfed the village of St. John’s Wednesday, led to the closing of the two schools in the compound above the landfill. Currently visiting St. Maarten on official meetings, Zagers stated that: “As the commissioner who holds the portfolio, I just want to make it clear that I am deeply disappointed by the actions today. Disciplinary actions will have to follow for the reckless decision which was made today.”

The local police is finalising a criminal investigation and officers are interrogating an arson suspect.

The Commissioner notes that “over the years government has been very active in making improvements in waste management, and the fire of today definitely does not reflect the wishes and plans of the executive council.” He stressed that for a long time the depositing of tires has been a problem, but that the greater challenge for the government was to find a client who would take them. Zagers said: “Up until as recent as yesterday I had email contact with a client who has taken tires before. The tire problem is one that almost every island in the region faces. I just want to make it clear that the actions of today do not represent any decision made by the Executive Council or any government department.”

Commissioner Zagers reassured the community that this December a landfill expert will be arriving on Saba to discuss a recycling plan. This plan is a proposal submitted by Zagers to the Dutch government prior to the recent Caribbean Netherlands week in The Hague. He said he is positive that the following this visit “the necessary provisions will be made available so that we can continue our efforts to improve waste management and the landfill in general.”


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  1. So – Was it arson (malicious intent by persons unknown) or was a deliberate decision made by someone to burn them?
    Not clear from above report – but suspect that a decision was made to burn them and that whoever controls waste is responsible.

  2. and I am deeply disappointed about Zagers.

    He states that the tires are a problem that exists already for years. Bruce has been assisted for three years by an “expert on waste management” from Holland. Is this the result?

    Bruce is responsible for what happens on the dump. Now to blame someone low in the hierarchy who tries to find a solution that Bruce has failed to find (for many year as he states himself) is chicken.

    It is the responsibility of the Commissioner that the dump is managed properly. If he cannot perform he should leave this to someone else. In Holland such persons step down, but on Saba they send the police to arrest a poor individual.

  3. We all know that the lack of proper storage for used tires created a breeding ground for mosquitoes (dengue fever, anyone?). In the meantime, the fire might be out, but the problems will continue.

  4. René Caderius van Veen

    Apart from the commotion about this fire, there is a far more important issue. That topic has been mentioned some time ago by an inhabitant of St Johns and I’m still convinced that it is worth not to forget this. I also heard from a mother of a child with asthma that from the children in St Johns 30% suffered from that kind of diseases. Now the airburner is in use there is far less smoke coming up to St Johns, but …… all the poison, dioxin etc. is still in that hot air and smoke and I’m convinced that it is irresponsible to have that aitburner on a location below a village. I checked my opinion with an expert in the Netherlands and I heard that my assumptions about the poison in the hot air is correct. Please Island Council, take your responsibilities serious, make if you like your own investigations and when the outcome is what I expect that it will be, change the location of the airburner.

  5. I only wish I had that many “experts” on speed dial.

  6. This morning Winair flew us around the island on the way to SXM. It is easy to see that the tires are still slowly burning and sending smoke up St. John’s.