220 garbage trucks needed, says NSWMA

Luke Douglas

Thursday, June 21, 2012

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THE National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has just half of the number of trucks it requires, and needs an additional 220 units if it is to properly collect the country's garbage, according to Executive Director Jennifer Edwards.

"The NSWMA, based on surveys that have been done, needs approximately 216 to 220 trucks islandwide to appropriately collect our garbage," Edwards said yesterday. "We are just at above 50 per cent of that nationally. So every single additional one makes a tremendous difference."

Edwards said, however, that the NSWMA was working with a number of partners in an effort to increase the number of trucks in the system by at least 100.

She was speaking with the Jamaica Observer just after receiving a new compactor truck, valued at $13 million, as part of the Inner-city Basic Services Project, at the NSWMA's head offices
in Kingston.

The $38.8-million project, funded by a loan from the World Bank and implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, seeks to improve the aesthetics of 12 communities, while aiming to change the behaviour of community members to the collection and disposal of garbage.

The communities benefiting from the project are Whitfield Town, Passmore Town, Federal Gardens and Jones Town in Kingston; Tawes Meadows, Africa, Central Village, Shelter Rock, Lauriston and Knollis in St Catherine; Bucknor in Clarendon; and Flankers in St James.

Equipment provided under the project also includes 55 skips, protected by gated concrete enclosures, while other components of the programme include the training of 56 environmental wardens, recycling and public education.

In the meantime, the NSWMA boss disclosed that the system for hiring private trucks was under review by the National Contracts Commission (NCC) and the Office of the Contractor General (OCG).

"We have entered into an agreement with the NCC and the OCG in terms of the process to get (private) trucks into the system. The present method is that people come, we measure (the trucks) and just take them on. We have not always found this to be reliable, because sometimes the trucks are not up to standard and you take on one today and by tomorrow it goes down, and they are dispatched in an ad hoc way," Edwards said. She said under the new system a contractor would have responsibility for a fleet of trucks assigned to a particular location.

Speaking at the function, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott thanked the World Bank and urged community members to treat their living spaces with pride and dignity.

At the same time, Minister with Responsibility for Information Sandrea Falconer, who also chairs an
inter-ministerial committee charged by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller with cleaning up Jamaica, said the committee had started its work which will cost an estimated $200 million. She said the clean-up campaign, which is scheduled to end in March next year, would be followed by a public education campaign.

Ripton McLean, president of the Knollis Benevolent Society, near Bog Walk, St Catherine, said the truck and the skips will impact on the cleanliness of the community in a big way.

"People used to dispose of garbage by burning, some buried theirs, and trucks would come haphazardly, but we are hoping the collection will be good from now on," he said.



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