Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
Jennifer Edwards, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), says the agency has made significant progress in removing about 80 per cent of hurricane debris from the main roads and corridors in Kingston and St Andrew.
Hurricane Sandy last Wednesday unleashed her fury on the eastern end of the country, taking down large trees and blocking main thoroughfares.
Edwards told The Gleaner yesterday that the NSWMA has had to be working twice as hard as many residents have added bulk waste to the debris already left by the angry weather system.
"They have put out the old furniture now and the fridges and stoves and they are all on the main roads to be collected as well," she noted.
The NSWMA executive director said the main roads in which 80 per cent of the hurricane debris have been removed are Old Hope Road, Marescaux Road, Constant Spring Road, Dunrobin Avenue, Hagley Park Road, Waltham Park Road and Spanish Town Road.
"There is a lot of work that remains to be done in a number of the other areas such as Whitehall Avenue, Mannings Hill Road and Red Hills Road," she added.
She said the main corridors were cleaned twice but "as fast as we clean, more debris is being put out".
Commenting on the areas posing the greatest challenge to the agency as it carries out the clean-up exercise, Edwards cited the inner city where access to downed trees was difficult due to narrow roads.
"We can't get any equipment into them to help clean up, so it has to be done manually and that takes quite some time."
Edwards reported that the agency yesterday increased the number of tipper trucks to carry out the clean-up programme. It moved from 11 trucks on Saturday and Sunday to 24 on Monday. The number should be increased to 30 today.
In the parishes served by the North Eastern Parks and Markets (NEPM), Edwards said significant progress has been made in clearing the main roads.
NEPM provides service to residents in St Ann, St Mary, Portland and St Thomas.
Pressed to place a monetary value on the work done by the NSWMA so far, Edwards said it was difficult to make an assessment at this time.
However, she said the agency would need additional resources to complete the work as the NSWMA has had to hire a lot more backhoes and front-end loaders.
Equipment hired by the agency to speed up the spreading and compacting of material at the Riverton landfill will also attract additional costs.
She said Minister of Local Government Noel Arscott had given the agency a commitment that resources would be provided to help in the post-hurricane clean-up drive.