Sun | Jan 29, 2023

Let’s make ‘Operation Sweep’ a success

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2022 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The long-awaited addition of trucks to the current NSWMA fleet is finally a reality. We have suffered in the last couple of months with the pile-up of garbage.

I fear also that the sporadic, insufficient and, in many cases, non-collection of garbage which grew to crisis proportions over the last eight months has resulted in antisocial behaviours where garbage disposal is concerned that the mere addition of trucks cannot fix.

Out of frustration and helplessness, ad hoc garbage dumps have increased in number and size. What else were people to do with their uncollected garbage? And as the visible garbage everywhere increased, it simply attracted more garbage. People are less likely to litter indiscriminately in clean surroundings than they are in an already nasty and untidy environment.

Executive Director of the NSWMA Audley Gordon has been making very good use of the new surge of energy brought on by the addition of 50 new trucks to his fleet. He is to be commended for leading visibly and forcefully from the front.

He has been at pains to beg citizens to containerise our garbage, to desist from dumping construction waste and to reduce our waste by using reusable packaging and composting. He has pleaded with commercial players to legally and properly dispose of their waste. He has pointed out to us how indiscriminate dumping adds to the time taken to clean one community. His energy and passion have been refreshing and provided a glimmer of hope that maybe – just maybe – we have a chance to return to the clean Jamaica of yesteryear.

But Mr Gordon and the NSWMA cannot do this alone. The addition of 50 new trucks cannot alter new behaviours borne out of years of systemic deficiencies. However, the infusion of new energy brought on by the addition of new trucks is a golden opportunity to start to address mindset, influence new behaviours and hopefully commence the long walk to sustained cleanliness.

ENFORCE THE LAWS

Now is the time to relaunch the ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ campaign, with clear, simple messaging around containerising waste, composting and so on, permeating every available channel, including social media, radio and television, to reach every citizen right where they are: in churches, schools, service and community groups, and workplaces across the island.

With a clean slate and hopefully regular and predictable collection going forward, the message of keeping Jamaica clean with proper waste management by each and every citizen will now have a legitimate platform on which to stand.

Second, it is time to enforce the laws governing proper waste management and disposal. It is time to sanction commercial operators operating contrary to the law in how they manage their waste. It is time to sanction those who dump indiscriminately and those who litter.

Let us not waste this golden opportunity to start to shift mindsets and behaviour.

KELLY MCINTOSH