The UWI-Trinidad and Tobago Research and Development Impact Fund

Dr. Denise Beckles


UWI Guanapo Landfill Project

RDI Fund researcher makes inroads in environment & community health

Dr. Denise Beckles

Over the years, the local community of Guanapo Heights, Arima, has been affected by the recurring environmental and health hazards of the Guanapo landfill. On March 14, 2013, The University of the West Indies researcher, Dr. Denise Beckles and a team from the Department of Chemistry, led a public forum at the Cemetery Street, Heights of Guanapo to introduce the research project. The Impact of the Contaminants Produced by the Guanapo Landfill on the Surrounding Environment.

The community meeting served as a platform to inform the public about the overall goal and beneficial impact that the landmark project will have on the community. During the forum, Dr. Beckles, Principal Investigator of the RDI Fund Guanapo Landfill Project, gave a brief overview of the likely public health effects of the landfill emissions, and the goal of assessing the extent of contamination from the Guanapao Landfill to the air, water and soil and identifying potential impacts of contamination to humans and the environment. The model, which once developed, would allow managers to predict the movement and concentration of pollutant chemicals from the landfill. The project is funded by The UWI Research, Development and Impact (RDI) Fund, in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr. Rhyan Hanoomansingh, Communications Sales and Marketing General Manager of the Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) and Dr. Sharda Maharaj, Consultant of the Water and Sewage Authority/Water Resource Agency (WASA/WRA) also spoke at the public forum.

After the presentations, the UWI research team also facilitated a Question and Answer session, where several relevant issues were addressed, including the measurement of pollutants in the surface and ground water, the closure of the landfill, as well as the general dissemination of the results gathered from the research project.

Guests included the Honourable Rodger Samuel, Minister of Parliament for the Constituency of Arima, members of the Guanapo Community Environmental Development Organization (GCEDO); as well as residents of the community.