THE National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has rolled out 'Operation Sweep Cop' with 10 bikes and eight new trucks, to ensure proper waste disposal among Jamaicans as the country approaches the Christmas season.
Operation Sweep Cop will see NSWMA strategically working to enforce and enhance public cleansing operations and programmes.
The eight units are part of 50 new trucks which were acquired at a cost of US$6.9 million increasing the company's fleet to 129; the bikes, meanwhile, were acquired for the Enforcement and Compliance Unit of the NSWMA, to help identify, report and initiate prosecution of people who are breaching the company's regulations.
Speaking at the NSWMA truck handing-over ceremony at the National Heroes' Park on Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness urged Jamaicans to practise greater personal responsibility in their waste disposal, with the launch of the initiative.
"The enhancement and the enforcement is important. I want you to not just focus on the enhance services that means more garbage compactors; I want you to also focus on the enforcement," said Holness.
"No matter how many garbage trucks we purchase, if someone driving in a taxi drinking a sweet drink — which they shouldn't be drinking in the first place — and having finished it just decided to throw it out the window and it lands in the virgates and as you drive through Jamaica, it is very sad," he added.
Twelve trucks were sent to the Western Parks and Markets, 10 to Metropolitan Parks and Markets, 10 to Southern Parks and Markets, 10 to North Eastern Parks and Markets, and eight for the roving team under the operation.
Holness pointed out that there are some Jamaicans who refuse to speak out against the lawlessness of the country, especially as it regards poor waste disposal.
"Where does citizen responsibility start? Where does your responsibility start as a Jamaican? It is not just [about] throwing garbage through the window, it's every other anti-social behaviour which we have normalised in this country, which we are afraid as a society to stand up and speak out against, and because it will appear that the good is in the minority. I want the enforcement to be an important part of your new strategic effort," he said.
"It is not just the purchase of more equipment, but more work must be done on building a new culture of cleanliness. It starts with education, it starts with a social narrative of who we want to be as a people and we must not be afraid to aspire. What has destroyed our nation is the destruction of the drive to aspire to be better. Do not throw your waste through the window, do not throw your waste in the gully; we are asking you to reduce your waste footprint," he added, noting that two locations have been identified for sanitary landfills.
At the same time, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie said that there will be a strong push to ensure effective garbage collection, with a special initiative.
"Over the Christmas there will be a special programme that will be rolled out in the NSWMA and the various municipalities in dealing with town centres and market districts across Jamaica for a special clean-up programme during the Christmas period. We are not going to allow any unruly behaviour to push aside the efforts of having a clean Christmas, we are not only committing to a clean Christmas but to a clean Jamaica so that we can return to the good old days," he said, noting that 10 sweep-cleaning machines will be acquired as part of the new revolutionary approach in garbage collection.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke announced that 50 more garbage trucks will be acquired from the capital expenditure budget next year.
"Although we like to wait until March to announce the budget for the year that follows, some things are too important to wait until March. I want to confirm what has already been said, that we have already reserved space in the capital expenditure budget for 50 more trucks in 2023/2024," he said.