The Government has purchased three new garbage trucks valued at approximately $74.7 million to boost the capabilities of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
The units, valued at $24.9 million each, will serve the Metropolitan Parks and Markets region, comprising St. Catherine, Clarendon, Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Thomas; Western Parks and Markets – Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James, Trelawny; and North Eastern Parks and Markets, comprising St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland.
Each region will receive one unit to strengthen collection and transportation of solid waste.
Speaking at the handover ceremony at the NSWMA’s head office in Kingston on Tuesday (October 16), Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said the Government is committed to boosting the fleet of trucks in order to ensure that the agency delivers quality service.
He said that since 2016, the NSWMA has received 30 new vehicles. “By the end of this year into January 2019… an additional 12 trucks will complement the fleet, and by year end (2019), we are looking at close to 50 brand-new trucks for the NSWMA,” he indicated.
Mr. McKenzie noted that while garbage collection has improved, “we are still not where we want to be in terms of the volume and the frequency of collection”, and the additional trucks will strengthen efforts in this regard.
The Minister urged the workers to take care of the units, which will assist them in performing their duties effectively.
Executive Director of the NSWMA, Audley Gordon, welcomed the additional trucks, which he said will assist in the Authority’s mandate to safeguard public health. He encouraged Jamaicans to practise proper garbage disposal.
In the meantime, Mr. McKenzie said the Government is working to relocate the occupants residing at the Retirement Landfill in St. James.
He informed that the Social Development Commission (SDC) will be undertaking a census to determine the number of persons living at the dump.
“This census will help us to determine the relocation of those persons. We have to ensure that once we remove them, we find somewhere to put them. We have already located an area, but we have to do the proper assessment to determine how we go about (it),” he said.
The NSWMA provides solid-waste management services across the island in order to safeguard public health while helping to create an environment that is healthy and aesthetically pleasing for both residents and visitors to enjoy.