Mon | Feb 18, 2019

Resource challenges hampering garbage collection in western Jamaica

Published:Monday | July 16, 2018 | 12:05 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

The management of the western regional office of the National Solid Waste Management Authority says resource challenges continue to hamper their capacity to collect garbage in an efficient and timely manner in St James.

Garnet Edmondson, the regional operations manager for Western Parks and Markets (WPM) Waste Management Limited, which serves the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland), stated that only seven government units are currently serving the parish, which is divided into four zones.

The number is fewer than the required amount and has resulted in frequent garbage backlogs in communities across St James, much to the annoyance of residents and the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC).

"St James is divided into four zones, and in Zone One alone, there are 70 communities that should have eight units, but presently have only one," noted Edmondson, while addressing yesterday's monthly meeting of the StJMC.

"In Zone Two, there are six communities that should have six units, but have only four; Zone Three has 71 communities that should be served by eight units, but have one; and Zone Four has 61 communities that should have six units, but have only one," added Edmondson.

However, Edmondson further said that the Authority is still prepared to clear the mounting garbage backlogs in St James and have already gone ahead in procuring a number of supplement units.

"So, Zone One has been given four supplement units, Zone Two got two supplement units, Zone Three did not get any and Zone Four got three supplement units to aid those seven belonging to the Government," said Edmondson.

"Citizens, however, should keep in mind that some of these units are just as old as ours and work 24 hours a day. When one crew comes out of the truck, another goes in. So these trucks hardly have any rest time and it is over some 11 years the agency has not gotten any new units from the Government," added Edmondson.

When challenged by the municipality about why there have been no new trucks over such a long period, Edmondson said the problem lies with the international manufacturers and not the Government.

"We normally make requests to the Ministry of Local Government and for sure the Ministry knows of the problem but it is not a ministry problem. It has to do with procurement and building these units to specifications for our terrains," said Edmondson.

"We have to be calling in the international people to make minor adjustments to their rear, skip lifting and so forth. So, these are the challenges we face. So it is not a matter of going out and buying a unit and getting it within two months time," added Edmondson.