• JIS News

    The Government embarked on a programme when it came into power last year, to re-organise and restructure the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), in order to better manage the island’s solid waste.
    This charge has been led by Joan Gordon Webley, who was appointed Executive Director in November 2007.
    In February, Prime Minister Bruce Golding called on Jamaicans to become partners with the Government in this effort. Part of this re-organisation programme, he said, would include the re-fleeting and expansion of the capacity of the NSWMA.
    To this end, the NSWMA acquired 11 new large garbage compactors, the first in a fleet which will see a total of 60 new compactor units being delivered to the NSWMA, to manage solid waste collection and disposal.
    “We need to create a whole new culture in the society, where garbage is properly packaged, so that disposal can be more efficient and simpler. It is the citizens who will benefit eventually, because it means that we will be able to service communities with greater frequency than we are able to do now, because we wouldn’t have to be spending so much time picking up garbage just thrown down on the roadside,” Mr. Golding said.
    He congratulated the management of the NSWMA, under the leadership of Mrs. Joan Gordon Webley, for the hard work being done with the restructuring and re-organization of the NSWMA. He said the restructuring is necessary if the Government is to eradicate corruption, because the NSWMA is one of those agencies where corruption has been festering and so changes had to be made.
    Meanwhile, in April the agency was allocated $1.09 billion in the 2008/09 national budget to purchase 77 garbage trucks. Some $7 million was also allocated to facilitate improvement works at the Riverton City Landfill.
    Mrs. Gordon Webley issued a sound warning for business persons and householders, who disposed of their garbage improperly, promising strong penalties, as she stressed that fines for illegal disposal of garbage could be as high as $1 million and imprisonment of up to six months.
    To assist with its efforts at better waste disposal management and monitoring, the NSWMA employed a new Director of Finance, Corporate Director, Legal Officer and Landfill Co-ordinator.
    In June, the NSWMA re-zoned the entire island, in an effort to increase the cleaning zones, which will allow for intense cleaning across the country.
    Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, informed the House of Representatives, in his Sectoral Debate presentation, that the rezoning would also allow small truck operators a chance to acquire a zone.
    Mr. Montague informed that the responsibility for solid waste has been returned to the Councils, and that the cost of cleaning parishes would be submitted and subjected to discussions with parish councils.
    The State Minister further noted that the Department would be moving to close four small landfills and to use transfer stations instead. “Four stations are currently on the wharf. We will also be getting 23 compactors, 11 of which are in the island, and 12 tipper trucks. The acquisition of these equipment will greatly enhance operational efficiency and reduce our reliance on the supplemental fleet,” he said.
    In March, Mrs. Gordon Webley, said the agency would be exploring an energy plan of converting waste into energy.
    “The plan would allow the NSWMA to take out of the Riverton area and indeed the other landfills, those garbage which have been there for a long time and use them in providing energy,” she added.
    Mrs. Gordon Webley said the NSWMA would also be looking at the area of licensing, where the persons who collect garbage would be licensed.
    The NSWMA, which now falls under the Office of the Prime Minister, collects some 730,000 of the average 900,000 tonnes of household waste that the country generates annually.
    The agency played a vital role in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean, which lashed the island in August last year, when the Prime Minister requested the undertaking of a massive clean-up from September 29 to 30 and on October 7, after he assumed office.