More 'Drum A Di Gate'
NSWMA waste removal initiative gets 2,400 additional garbage bins
National Solid Waste Management Authority Executive Director Audley Gordon (right) joins Hardware and Lumber Limited's Managing Director Marcus Richards in sealing the deal for the donation of 200 drums each month for the next 12 months to the agency. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

HEAD of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) Audley Gordon has again promised Jamaicans that Christmas 2022 will be the country's cleanest for years.

According to Gordon, his confidence has been bolstered by the decision of construction, agriculture and home improvement store Hardware & Lumber Limited (H&L) agreeing to sustain its commitment to donate 200 drums per month, costing approximately $1.5 million, to the NSWMA for the next 12 months to boost its "Drum A Di Gate" initiative.

Gordon said the new deal, which was signed on Wednesday, follows the expiration of the original agreement with H&L to sponsor the initiative.

"These drums will not only help residents to properly secure their garbage, but enhance the aesthetics of these communities and allow our sanitation workers to move quickly through these communities — not stopping to shovel and rake loose garbage," Gordon told media briefing at the NSWMA head office on Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew.

H&L's decision to stick with the NSWMA comes in the wake of weeks bashing by frustrated residents of several communities who faced a severe shortage of drums to store their garbage and trucks to remove the waste.

The pressure has eased somewhat since last week when 50 new trucks were added to the fleet of the NSWMA.

Since then the agency has embarked on a blitz to clean some of the worst-affected communities and Gordon is adamant that the ray of hope which the news trucks brought is shinning even brighter with the intervention of H&L and plans by the NSWMA to entertain more collaboration with the private sector.

Gordon said that he is pleased with the turnaround in his agency's fortunes, which now has the resilience to step up procedures, like encouraging citizens to join activities like the "Drum A Di Gate" project, which aims at keeping the waste off the streets and stored in easily emptied containers.

"The drums are so in demand, everywhere we go, I have never in my wildest dream expected... the kind of response that we are getting when we go into the communities to issue drums. Everybody want a drum," Gordon told the Jamaica Observer.

"It tells us that people, if they are led, will do the right thing. They will properly containerise, and so we are out in the communities and we are doing a number of things to inspire the programme," added Gordon.

In the meantime, the Government handed over 50 new garbage trucks and 10 motorcycles to the NSWMA on November 30. The vehicles, valued at approximately US$6.9 million, will be used to improve garbage collection islandwide and increase the operations and capabilities of the agency.

Of the 50 trucks, 12 were sent to Western Parks and Markets Waste Management Limited; 10 to Metropolitan Parks and Market Waste Management Limited; 10 to Southern Parks and Markets Waste Management Limited; and 10 to the North Eastern Parks and Markets Waste Management Limited.

The other eight trucks will form part of a roving team, dubbed Strategically Working to Enforce and Enhance Public Cleansing Operations and Programmes (SWEEP COP).

Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the handing-over ceremony in National Heroes' Park in Kingston on November 30, that the acquisition of the trucks represents a major achievement in building the capacity of the NSWMA.

He noted that the lengthy delays in getting the units were not only created by the procurement process, but resulted from the shut-downs and disruption in the supply chains, as well as interruption to the production schedule. He also noted that 2016 and 2020, a total of 65 new garbage trucks were purchased.

Gordon said that the new vehicles will not be a silver bullet for the country's garbage woes, as 50 trucks will not solve the problem, but it will help us tremendously.

Balford Henry

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