Emergency Debris Management Project

Approval date
December 20, 2018
Effectiveness Date
January 31, 2019
First Disbursement Date
April 15, 2019
Closing date
December 31, 2023
Burn rate


The Emergency Debris Management Project (US$25 million) finances the management of debris from Hurricane Irma and reconstruction activities to facilitate recovery and reduce risks. Project activities include collecting and clearing debris (metal and car wrecks); reducing the risks of operation, reorganization, rehabilitation, and the upgrading of debris storage and municipal disposal sites, debris processing and disposal; vessel recovery and salvaging, including shoreline cleaning, and technical assistance.

Since the 1990s, Sint Maarten's landfill capacity and municipal waste management issues have been left largely unaddressed, which has negatively affected environmental conditions on the island. Hurricane Irma intensified the long-standing challenges in disposal capacity and municipal waste management. There are significant risks and danger to the communities surrounding the landfill and because of this the Trust Fund developed a plan to support the Government carry out the resettlement process. 

As of September 2022 almost 90 percent or US$22.23 million has been disbursed.

Financial Summary:


Amount pledged to finance the project.


Disbursement indicates the actual transfer of funds from the administrator to Sint Maarten's National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).


The ratio represents the percentage of the amount that has been transferred from the administrator to Sint Maarten's National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).

The Emergency Debris Management Project has four main activities:

  • Fire suppression activities:

    To suppress the fires specialized equipment and services are required. The project will procure equipment for the landfill and fire department and worker protection gear. A specialized fire-fighting company will be hired to extinguish the sub-surface fires. From January to June 2019, activities to reduce smoke exposure will be undertaken, including the purchasing of equipment and daily cover materials.

  • Clearance and collection of debris:

    Collection and sorting of debris and waste will be undertaken, which will reduce mosquito-breeding grounds at the disposal sites. Regular collection of construction and demolition waste in neighborhoods and improvement of current waste management operations will be conducted.

  • Ship recovery and salvaging in Simpson Bay:

    An estimated 130 damaged boats and ship wrecks in the Bay are being recovered and disposed.

  • The reorganization and upgrading of the disposal site:

    The reorganization and upgrading of the disposal site will be implemented by reshaping the landfill, creating reception, sorting and recycling areas, securing access points, and professionalizing disposal site operation and management.

The Emergency Debris Management Project has progressed in 2022 with major advancements in finalizing critical safeguards instruments and resuming dialogue on the anticipated solid waste management sector reforms.

The project has successfully removed and salvaged 139 shipwrecks from the Simpson Bay Lagoon and Mullet Pond and cleaned 10.5 km of shoreline.


Project Component Sub component Ongoing Completed
Debris clearance (car wrecks) Preparation / consulting  
Ship salvaging Consulting work  
Non-consulting works    
Environmental and
Social Impact Assessment
Shipwreck removal     139
Fire supression
Management of landfill
Resettlement Action Plan  
Air Quality monitoring  
Fire hotspots extinguished at disposal sites 2 28
Purchase of landfill equipment
(D8 bulldozer and heavy compactor)
Alternative Daily Coverage (ADC)  
Institutional and technical capacity building for
better sector management
Long term waste management

Hurricane Irma caused extensive property damage, producing debris both from the damage itself and the subsequent demolition and reconstruction activities in Sint Maarten. About 100,000 m3 debris has been cleared and collected at a site adjacent to the existing municipal waste site. Another 100,000 m3 remains in public spaces or is expected to be produced by the ongoing demolition and reconstruction activities. Up to 100 shipwrecks remain in the main lagoon in Simpson Bay.

Sint Maarten lacks an efficient and sanitary waste disposal system, and most of the debris is not separated, recycled, treated or disposed appropriately. This has created environmental and social challenges.

Collection and management of debris is a dangerous task and before it can take place, fire suppression activities need to start and the safety of personnel working on the landfill needs to be guaranteed. The collection and sorting of waste and debris could be labor-intensive. However, any long-term solution will need to take options for sustainable waste collection and recycling practices into account.