Puerto Rico could run out of landfill space in two to four years, reports a study the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) commissioned to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This long-anticipated capacity problem has been heightened by tons of debris left in the aftermath of two back-to-back hurricanes that hit the region hard in 2017.

But at least two large Puerto Rican waste companies believe inadequate capacity is not the underlying problem; the largest sites can potentially take in trash for more than 30 years, they claim. They assert the issues are really around compliance and mismanagement, resulting mainly from limited resources.

“There is an absolute landfill crisis in Puerto Rico, but it’s not air space. It is that we still allow 22 unlined dumps to accept waste. While we do have regulations, enforcement on the island is not consistent. I believe more consistent enforcement needs to occur across all waste receiving sites,” says Randy Jensen, president and CEO of EC Waste.