The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has started the clearing of illegal dumps across the island, in preparation for the predicted above-normal hurricane season.
“We have looked at all the problematic areas that are historically prone to flooding. What we have said to all regions is make sure that we try and get rid of the mini dumps in those areas. We have already started cleaning all the mini dumps, because when the rain comes, in the waterways and the low-lying areas the water will spread out, lift the garbage and clog up drains and cause all sorts of problems, so we have proactively started cleaning mini dumps,” Executive Director of the NSWMA, Audley Gordon, said.
While highlighting flood-prone communities in the parishes of St. Andrew, Clarendon, St. James and sections of St. Ann and St. Elizabeth, Mr. Gordon noted that these illegal dumps have been noticed all across the island.
“Even though we encourage persons not to, and we have all the messages to get people to buy in to better solid waste management, you do have a percentage of people who dump anywhere. Every corner of Jamaica, we have seen them popping up and every day we get calls to clean mini dumps,” he told JIS News in an interview.
The clearing of these mini dumps can be costly to the Authority, but they have been incorporated into hurricane preparation plans for NSWMA.
“We have already spoken to our contractors who have heavy duty equipment, for the prepositioning of equipment to help us in those areas that are problematic. We have already looked at how we can prearrange staff and have a fairly good idea of who would get to work easier, in case of major landslides or blockages. We have looked at all the variables and how we would juggle the staffing and equipment to make sure that we are still able to deliver the service once it is safe to do so,” Mr. Gordon said.
The NSWMA is committed, as an essential service, to continue the delivery of its waste management services to the island throughout the hurricane season as long as it is safe to do so. The hurricane season officially starts June 1 and is predicted to be an active season.