Jennifer Edwards, Guest Columnist
We write in response to the Gleaner editorial of October 22, 2014 titled "Why the NSWMA continues to fail'.
While we respect the personal opinion of the editor, we refute the accusations and claims in the editorial for the following reasons:
1. The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is fortunate to have a well-qualified and competent team of professionals, including engineers, urban planners, public-health officers, waste engineers, law-enforcement officers, social workers, legal luminaries, persons trained in logistics at the MSc level and a dedicated team of sanitation workers who work seven days each week, 12 hours most days, to collect the domestic waste generated by Jamaicans, collect commercial and institutional waste, and manage that waste at eight disposal sites islandwide.
2. In the last two years, five pieces of legislation have been drafted and are at an advance stage of fine-tuning at the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.
3. Two requests for proposals for waste-management solutions have been published in the last two years.
4. A request for expression of interest has been published.
5. There is a public-private partnership in plastic recovery and recycling.
6. The NSWMA is partnering with government entities and with 152 schools to separate plastic at source.
7. More than 2,000 drums have been distributed islandwide in partnership with private-sector companies.
8. The NSWMA has partnered with JSIF to improve waste management in 17 inner-city communities across the country.
9. We have met and continue to meet with citizens' associations, youth clubs, civic groups and have gone door to door, in some communities to talk about waste management, including the need to rethink waste, reduce the accumulation of waste, reuse items, and recycle where possible, particularly composting.
10. We have recently hosted a regional conference on waste management, looking at best practices, challenges, costs and the way forward.
11. We have partnered with the University of the West Indies, Mona, on the issue of water-quality monitoring; and with the University of Technology, Jamaica, on the issue of entrepreneurial solutions for solid waste management.
12. The NSWMA has partnered with the Jamaica Information Service, the CHASE Fund, Scotia Foundation and The Gleaner to mount major public awareness programmes on waste management.
We do not agree that highlighting the facts should be seen as "the art of gripe", or a "gripe-fest". In journalism, that is seen as just being frank and open. We believe that the Jamaican people deserve the facts so they can make informed decisions when managing their waste.
We support the call for being "resourceful, creative and to think out the box", and this is the mantra of all employees of the NSWMA who, every day, regardless of title, find ingenious ways to collect waste, sensitise residents and train community members and staff.
As for the qualifications of the executive director, her academic, training and work experience is public knowledge and we recommend a Google search for that information.
The Gleaner Company is a well-established and respected organisation and should never allow unchecked opinions to leave its press room parading as facts.
Jennifer Edwards is executive director of the NSWMA. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.