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NSWMA prepares for increased solid waste this Christmas

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Staff reporter
kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 20, 2020

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — As citizens eagerly await the Government's announcement on COVID-19 measures for the Christmas period, head of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) Audley Gordon says the agency is prepared for the increased solid waste expected during the Yuletide season.

Gordon, who was speaking at the launch of the 'Drum A Di Gate' initiative launched by Southern Parks and Markets (SPM) in the community of Greenvale on Wednesday, said plans are in place for garbage collection.

“…COVID not going to stop Christmas. We are Jamaicans and we love Christmas, so you are going to have a lot of garbage being generated. We have already started to look at our extended opening hours at the disposal sites. We [have] started to look at where we can add additional trips [garbage collection],” the executive director said.

“We know the areas that usually give us challenges. The market districts, for example. We know we have to work [late] into the night after the vendors… We know what we have to do. We know where the pressure points are. We will be alright for Christmas. Jamaica will have a clean Christmas,” he added.

Gordon joined a team of workers from SPM in distributing 80 garbage bins to residents of Bethel Street and surrounding areas in Greenvale, encouraging residents to maintain cleanliness.

“When the garbage is thrown all over the place it creates an awful sight. It damages the aesthetics of the community. People want clean surroundings, and when you have people throwing things all over, it does not add to the pleasing [aesthetics] that we want in our community,” he said.

The NSWMA head stressed that poor containerisation of garbage impacts the turnaround time of solid waste collection.

“The stress that it puts on our crew when they have to come and clean up, instead of just taking up a drum, emptying it, and moving. We want to move from your gate as quickly as possible. Sometimes the one garbage truck serves [many] communities. The more bogged down that truck gets [is] the less opportunity we have to go to the other communities, so the turnaround time is affected, and that puts a problem on us right across.

“Let us containerise our garbage. We [NSWMA] are helping in a small way, to add some drums. We believe it will go a far way in the containerisation effort,” he added.

Operations manager at NSWMA, Aretha McFarlene, said the acquisition and distribution of the garbage receptacles was supported by a public-private partnership between NSWMA, GraceKennedy and the Edgechem Group.

She disclosed that the initiative will be expanded islandwide.

“We expect to see greater efficiency and turnaround time when residents containerise garbage in these densely populated areas. The residents are happy for this initiative and we expect to replicate the same across the island in phases,” she said.