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JSIF to launch probe as 40 garbage drums disappear

Published:Friday | October 7, 2022 | 12:11 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is to investigate the disappearance of approximately 40 metal drums used to collect garbage at designated areas in Salt Spring, St James, under its environment programme.

Approximately 45 branded drums were donated to the community by the JSIF in partnership with the National Solid Waste Management Authority under the Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP), funded by the World Bank.

The once-troubled community, which the police has given a positive rating as being transformed on a positive trajectory, is one of 18 across the island benefiting from the environmental component of the new Integrated Community Development Project.

“I am not saying that one or two instances can’t happen, but I find it highly unlikely that some 40-odd drums [would have just gone missing], or that somebody would come into the community and just take them, especially with wardens in and around every day,” said JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney.

“... We will have to do some investigation, and so I am going to have the officer who is in charge of it (environmental wardens programme) take a look into the matter and generate a report for action,” the JSIF boss told The Gleaner on Thursday.

Sweeney said that the fund would now have to consider whether there is a need for further public education to tackle the issue.

“I need to know why the environmental wardens wouldn’t have been making the reports to us earlier, and if the reports were in fact made, why we didn’t take action before so many drums went missing,” he insisted.

“I am a little bit shocked right now to hear this. I have heard of two or three drums missing [elsewhere], but I have never heard of the numbers you are talking about,” he added.

More than 2,000 drums have been distributed across the 18 communities in which the environment component of the ICDP is operating, by the JSIF, which started out with plastic drums in which holes were strategically placed so that they would not collect water.

That was short-lived, The Gleaner understands, as the fund had to resort to metals drums because when garbage is not collected in a timely manner, people would burn the garbage in the drums and destroy them.

Residents expressed their disappointment about the garbage crisis at a recent meeting of the Salt Spring Community’s Development Committee.

“Right now, the entrance to my lane has become a garbage dump. They leave the bags there and other people come and put other garbage there,” said a senior resident, who sought answers about the disappearance of the garbage drums.

“The only place where you see drums now is the six that is up by the Meggie Top,” another resident claimed. “We don’t have any more drums … I don’t know what they are doing with the drums, but every time you look, they are missing.”

“It’s not everybody that is living near the main road, so we have to run down to the truck to get my garbage collected,” explained another younger female citizen.

One male resident told The Gleaner that while some of the drums were removed from the community, a number of them are being used by citizens within their private dwellings.