JIS News

The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is appealing for truck operators to assist the agency in the massive clean-up process, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean.
“We are having a serious challenge in respect to the acquisition of trucks and that is slowing our ability to deploy them, so we are making a public appeal for persons with tipper trucks to come to 97 Hagley Park Road, so that we may engage them to give us the sort of numbers that is required to accelerate this particular programme,” Chairman of the NSWMA, Robert Bryan said at a press conference on August 22, at the NSWMA head office on Half-Way-Tree Road.
Indeed, the truck situation is hampering the ability of the NSWMA to accelerate its clean-up programme, as it started out with some 20 trucks on August 21 to assist with the clean-up of the nation’s streets and had some difficulty in receiving the same amount of assistance on August 22. “With some effort, we got those numbers moving up again today but we need far more than 20,” he stressed.
Commenting on the number of trucks needed, the Chairman said that it was more than triple the number that the agency was able to round up at the start of the week.
“We will be deploying them based on the plan that we have,” he said, and pointed out that there would be a need to supervise these persons in clearing the road, in addition to paying attention to the resources that are available.
Twelve new compactor units were handed over to the agency in June to help replace an aging garbage collection fleet. Five of the compactor units were deployed to Kingston, while two each were commissioned into service in Mandeville and Ocho Rios and the remainder in Montego Bay. An additional 60 units are expected to arrive by year end. However, the Chairman said that this would be dependent on the outcome of discussions with the relevant Ministries. Mr. Bryan also explained that in the wake of Hurricane Dean, it had become necessary to deploy crews with saws to facilitate the cutting up of trees and tree branches. “We will have to do this in other parishes and we are asking persons who may have this service available in the next couple of days to be on standby to make that service available,” he appealed.
In the meantime, the Chairman pleaded for more patience on the part of the public as the challenge of the normal collection of garbage has been exacerbated in light of the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Dean.
“There are areas that we are not just talking about hurricane damage but also a backlog of garbage and there are some areas that we are quite clear and understand that we have to pay particular attention to and deal with,” he said.
“We are aware of particular situations in Stony Hill and in the Eastern side of the city. We are paying attention to those elements but we also have to be honest about the challenges, even without Dean, that the agency has been facing,” Mr. Bryan continued.
He also called on all Jamaicans to continue assisting, wherever possible, in the clean-up process, while reminding that garbage should not be mixed with the debris.
“In many communities, citizens have been working together and pulling the debris out on the main road and have done an excellent job,” he lauded.
This community spirit, he said, had helped the NSWMA significantly, because it would facilitate a more structured pick up of the debris. “As we get the deployment of resources going, we will be working community by community,” he said.
For truckers who make arrangements with persons for the removal of debris, the Chairman warned them to resist the temptation of dumping the debris in the first available empty lot or in gullies. “Of course it is simply not a solution, but compounds the problem.
We are encouraging them to use the official dump sites in Kingston, which are all in operation,” he said.
Mr. Bryan also said that the NSWMA was committed to informing the public about the daily activities of the agency in various areas. “What we will appreciate is to have citizens in those areas give us a call if they do not feel that they are seeing levels of that, because we are also mindful of the fact that based on our experience, we can have slippage between what is planned and what is taking place on the road,” he added.

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