Mound of waste for NSWMA
Money owed to the agency slows garbage pick-ups
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
HUNDREDS OF millions of dollars owed to the National Solid Waste and Management Authority (NSWMA) has left the garbage-collection agency crippled, resulting in a massive pile-up of solid waste in the Corporate Area.
Executive director of the NSWMA, Joan Gordon-Webley, told The Gleaner that she had not received subventions for the past five fortnights, which, according to her, translates to "a couple hundred million dollars".
She said a significant downturn in property tax intake is to be blamed for the challenges facing the NSWMA.
"We are approximately five fortnights (10 weeks) in the red," Gordon-Webley disclosed. "We don't have an adequate number of trucks for the entire island."
Gordon-Webley was, however, unable to elaborate on the property tax reduction.
She said the situation had been exacerbated within the Metropolitan Parks and Market region that covers St Thomas, Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine, as the supplementary fleet servicing the parishes had been depleted because of dwindling revenues.
"What we are finding out is persons supplementing our fleet have withdrawn their trucks and tractors because they can't afford to pay for the petrol to do their work," Gordon-Webley disclosed.
She said her team had been forced to put in place stopgap measures to ease the pressure by taking trucks from rural communities.
However, she lamented, this placed severe pressure on other areas.
Gordon-Webley told The Gleaner that on an average, the NSWMA utilised 51 trucks, which carried out two trips daily, but this number had been slashed by more than half. "At this point in time, we have 18 trucks available," she said.