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Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, has informed that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has rezoned the island, in an effort to increase the cleaning zones, which will allow for intense cleaning across the country.
Making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 24, Mr. Montague said rezoning would also allow small truck operators a chance to get a zone.
The State Minister said that strategic plans have been implemented to allow for an efficient waste management agency within the island.
“We are introducing roving teams that will move around in a zone to bush, cut overhangs, clean drains and sweep,” he pointed out, adding that on a monthly basis, intense cleaning would be undertaken in targeted areas such as Trench Town, Mountain View, and the Cassava Piece gully.
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 discussion with parish councils.
“An account is being operated for the time being for the Councils at the Department of Local Government. We are completing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Councils and the agency, because payment is going to be on a service-delivery basis,” he said.
Mr. Montague 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.
The State Minister said that the landfill staff has been re-organized, and to ensure their safety, they have been vaccinated, issued medical cards, and provided with bathrooms. He pointed out that the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU), the Board, and the Management have forged a partnership, in which the lines of communication are open. He said that as a result of quarterly meetings, it has been agreed that with units to be sold or leased, the current drivers would have first choice, and they would also be invited to tender on any new contracts to be issued.
“We are moving to allow the agency to do what the law requires, that is, to be a regulatory and monitoring agency. We want to set standards and let the cleaning companies be allowed to perform,” he told the House.
Jamaica generates an average of 900,000 tonnes of household waste annually, of which, approximately 730,000 tonnes are collected by the NSWMA.

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