Representatives from private and public sector organisations participating in a meeting for the 'Klean Kingston' programme at ROK Hotel Kingston last Friday. (Photos: Joseph Wellington)

National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) says it will be embarking on a major waste-disposal initiative in Kingston, which is expected to improve the environment and promote civic duty.

The initiative, called Klean Kingston, is being undertaken in collaboration with Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation and will entail a special day for intense clean-up activities.

It is also a part of the NSWMA's 'Clean City' programme which was designed to target the backlog of garbage in town centres and business districts.

During a round-table talk at ROK Hotel Kingston on Friday, which marked the first productive meeting for the Klean Kingston programme, several public and private organisations including Kingston Creative, Ribbiz Ocean Lounge, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force proposed strategies to boost the project.

National Solid Waste Management Authority Executive Director Audley Gordon gives details of the Klean Kingston programme at ROK Hotel Kingston on Friday.

Executive director of NSWMA Audley Gordon told the Jamaica Observer that the Klean Kingston programme is expected to be rolled out in February.

"The Klean Kingston initiative is basically a day when we want to move resources into the city to give it a nice cleaning. We believe that if we do that it would be an excellent starting point for a sustained clean city," Gordon said after the discussions, noting that for the clean-up day Kingston will be divided into zones.

"The city should not be cleaned, obviously, for a special occasion, or for a day. It should be a norm and we are way off that norm now and we want to get the people using the space. We want to see people going to and fro, observing the best practices for waste disposal," he added.

Gordon said the project will require a lot of human and capital resources to ensure an efficient clean-up operation in Kingston.

Minister with responsibility for the environment Senator Matthew Samuda (left) and Member of Parliament for the Kingston Central Donovan Williams at last Friday's meeting for the Klean Kingston programme at ROK Hotel Kingston.

"We are hoping to have a lot of volunteers out there on the day. We already have a lot of commitment from the private sector to treat with refreshments and we want to have people out there decked in their T-shirts and doing the clean-up in a practical way so that we are sweeping, picking up paper, putting things in the bags," he said.

"For the trucks, we are going to ensure that we have an adequate amount in the space. They will be in from early in the morning so that we will be moving out the garbage as soon as possible," he said.

Kingston Central Member of Parliament Donovan Williams said the project is a "step in the right direction".

"I am looking forward to participating and I think the residents and the respective business persons and vendors, all the stakeholders, will come along. I think what we need to do is to look at the problem spaces, the locations where we have the pile-up to examine and assess the root causes and then from there tackle it," said Williams.

Director of digital media agency ESIROM, Alex Morrissey, said he is looking forward to the sustainability of the project.

"It is a good start. I would like it to not focus so much on cleaning up but the long-term solution. For example, when we do beach clean-ups we are always cleaning up, so it is not really stopping the problem at the source. We can also use technology as well because NSWMA has an app which allows people to alert them when they need garbage collection," he said.

"Perhaps we can add something specific for that day so that we can have the public participating. If they don't want to be a part of the clean-up they can at least let us know what needs to be collected within the area," Morrissey added.

Jamaica Chamber of Commerce President Michael McMorris commended the project.

"We think that any initiative that brings stakeholders together to accomplish something is a good idea. We want to salute the NSWMA certainly by taking on this initiative," he said.

BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON Observer staff reporter hutchinsonb@jamaicaobserver.com

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