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    Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Audley Gordon, is assuring Jamaicans that adequate preparations are being made to ensure that “they have a clean Christmas”.

    Mr. Gordon was speaking to residents of Greenvale in Mandeville, Manchester, at the launch of the NSWMA’s ‘Drum A Di Gate’ initiative, with the distribution of 80 garbage drums to them.

    The programme is expected to be taken islandwide as soon as the drums are available, the Executive Director said.

    “We don’t have all the drums we need at this time, but COVID-19 will not stop Christmas, and a lot of garbage will be generated. We have already started to look at extended opening hours at disposal sites and we will be looking at additional trips,” Mr. Gordon said.

    The Executive Director explained the NSWMA’s approach to guaranteeing a clean holiday season.

    “We know what we have to do; we have a history and know exactly where the pressure points are, so Jamaica will have a clean Christmas,” Mr. Gordon said.

    He added that in areas such as the market districts, garbage collection would have to continue late into the night.

    Mr. Gordon said the ‘Drum A Di Gate’ initiative would enhance the community’s aesthetics, and appealed to the residents to use the drums to store their garbage.

    He pointed out that when garbage is thrown everywhere, persons seize the opportunity to follow suit, thereby creating many mini dumps.

    “It also puts additional stress on our crews when they have to come and clean up, instead of just picking up a drum, emptying it and moving on. The more bogged down a truck gets, the fewer opportunities there are to go to other communities, and turnaround time is affected,” he said.

    With the negative effects of recent heavy rainfall now being felt, Mr. Gordon also told the residents that items such as bottles and other items that were not properly disposed of will now float around and block drains, thereby contributing to flooding, hence the importance of not littering.

    Operations Director at the NSWMA, Aretha McFarlane, said the 80 drums were donated by the GraceKennedy Group and EdgeChem.

    Also addressing the residents, Regional Operations Manager for Southern Parks and Markets, Edward Muir, told the residents that by using the drums they will help to ensure the safety of the workers, one of whom was recently stuck by a needle in garbage that was improperly bagged for disposal.

    Mr. Muir underscored the importance of the work crews being able to move at a quicker pace.

    “We want to ensure that our schedules are completed on a timely basis. We are losing the time it takes to pull garbage together and pack it in the truck,” he said.

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