12 garbage trucks not enough for St James – Councillor
David Brown, councillor for the Montego Bay West Division in the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC), is of the view that the western parish is underserved in terms of garbage trucks, and he wants to see the situation rectified quickly.
After listening to the report from the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) at last week’s monthly meeting of the StJMC, Brown made it clear that he did not believe the 12 garbage trucks – nine government-issued trucks and three privately operated units – were enough to adequately address garbage collection in the parish.
“Do you think that 12 garbage trucks are a sufficient amount of trucks to operate in the parish?” Brown asked. “Numerically, let us look at the population of Montego Bay, which has, at minimum, maybe half a million people that live in the municipality. Does one think that 12 trucks can navigate and circumvent the waste collection issue?”
“How much poundage of waste does one human being generate? It is seven pounds per human being, so multiply seven by 500,000 people, to the power of 10. That means that 12 trucks cannot work,” declared Brown.
But while acknowledging the lack of resources, Roxanne Hayles, public cleansing inspector at the NSWMA’s Western Parks and Markets Waste Management Limited, said additional trucks have been promised to boost the current fleet.
“The trucks we have are old, and in November we got 12 new trucks, which is a significant addition,” said Hayles, in reference to the 12 new garbage trucks which were assigned to western Jamaica from the 50 units that arrived in Jamaica in November 2022. “We have also been promised additional units, so you will see even more improvements in garbage collection.”
“On Saturday, March 4, we lost one of our compactor trucks due to a fire, and the loss is estimated to be approximately $10 million. It has minimally affected collections in the districts in St James, and the cause of the damage is yet to be determined, as our investigations continue,” explained Hayles.
In speaking to the garbage collection issue, Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams, who is also chairman of the StJMC, complained that there have been cases where bulky waste builds up in certain areas in less than a day after those locations were cleared of garbage.
“There is a significant buildup of bulky waste in the parish. I remember in December, I cleared about 12 loads of bulky waste from Sun Valley Road, and the very next day there was a significant buildup of bulky waste, so I just want us to pay attention to that,” said Williams.
St James has had a poor garbage collection and disposal history over the years, compounded by numerous reports of rat infestation due to improper disposal of food waste along the roadside and in drains. In March this year in St James, the NSWMA’s enforcement teams issued 23 tickets for littering and 17 compliance removal notices.