THE NATIONAL Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will be rolling out a J$25-million plan for this Christmas season in an effort to prevent a repeat of the bad publicity it received last Christmas when it was unable to collect garbage due to a spike in activities that accompanies the festive season.
"During this period (last December), most, if not all, the streets and side corridors in the town centres and shopping districts were completely taken over by sellers, buyers and solid waste, leaving no roadways or access to the sanitation teams for the collection and disposal of garbage," Jennifer Edwards, executive director of the NSWMA, said yesterday at a press conference, held at the NSWMA's Kingston offices.
"This created mayhem, posed a threat to public health and, subsequently, led to bad publicity for the regional bodies and, by extension, the NSWMA. In addition to the pile-up in town centres, the volume of solid waste generated by each person as a result of cleaning, packaging, purchases, parties/social/family gatherings during the holiday season increased by an average of between 20 and 30 per cent."
pressure on the agency
She noted that this increase in volume ultimately places a strain on the company's resources.
Since November 5, the NSWMA has been meeting with the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, parish councils, police, merchants, vendors and waste haulers in both the private and public sector to forge a partnership to implement a plan for collection of solid waste.
"The collection programme will begin in earnest on Sunday, December 15, 2013, and end January 12, 2014. It will include the collection and clearance of bulky waste, the clearance of any backlog waste, particularly illegal dumps and roadside disposal," Edwards said.
She added: "It is also intended to increase the frequency of collection in those areas known to have increased waste generation at this time of the year. Particular attention will be paid to town centres and main roads."
The proposal is to add 15 per cent to the current contract of sweeping contractors to maintain general cleanliness over the period. Where there is no contractor, additional sweepers and supervisors will be engaged.
Frequency and duration of sweeping will be dependent on the scheduled activities in the business districts or residential areas.