NSWMA clears garbage backlog in three regions

The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) might not have made Christmas as clean as it wanted for Jamaica, but the company’s boss Audley Gordon said he is satisfied with the clean-up efforts done over the period, as backlogs have been cleared in three regions.

The three areas Gordon mentioned were Southern Parks and Markets Waste Management responsible for clearing solid waste in Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth, Western Parks and Market Waste Management which covers St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny and North Eastern Parks and Markets Waste Management which covers St Ann, St Mary and Portland.

He said the backlog has been cleared with the assistance of the additional trucks that were added to the company’s fleet on November 30.

“We are very happy with the addition of the 50 trucks and what it has enabled us to do in the runs of our collection effort. When the trucks came we were behind in significant proportions of the country,” he told the Jamaica Observer, noting that there has been over 50 per cent reduction in complaints from Jamaicans about garbage clean-up.

“In most parishes, we had backlogs — we were doing badly in some areas and not so bad in some, but overwhelmingly we weren’t providing the quality service that the public deserves and we owned that and we weren’t comfortable about that. The new trucks brought a sense of relief because we were now in a position to pay back the debt we had incurred with the public,” he added.

Gordon said however, that there is a garbage collection issue in the fourth region, Metropolitan Parks and Markets (MPM) which covers St Catherine, St Andrew, Kingston and St Andrew, which the company is tackling with the sweep cop initiative.

Under the initiative, eight of the 50 new trucks are specifically being utilised for additional assistance to target areas with serious waste disposal issues.

“We still have areas that are still posing a challenge such as sections of St Catherine, hilly areas in St Andrew but substantially we have pulled down the backlog and we are working assiduously to get rid of the issue,” he said.

“We have used the sweep crew all over and right now it is stationed in Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine trying to help MPM to get on top of their backlog situation,” noting that the enforcement team for Sweep Cop will be in operation in about a week.

In the meantime, Gordon is appealing to Jamaicans to practise proper garbage disposal.

“A lot of people are not playing their part in the Clean Jamaica campaign. They are dumping things all over the place. We can’t clean up Jamaica with that kind of bad habit. We have to get the participation at every level,” he said.

“Unless we get the full buy-in from the public where they see the protection of the environment as part of their civic duty, then it is going to be very difficult to keep Jamaica clean,” he added.

The 50 new trucks, which were acquired at a cost of US$6.9 million, increased the company’s fleet to 129, to improve waste disposal efforts in the country.

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