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NSWMA should collect scrap metal for ingots

Published:Saturday | January 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I, too, would like to suggest that all scrap-metal shipments using the current method cease immediately. But I believe that the industry should become the business of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) which should now extend its scope to include an aspect of public health that has been neglected for too long, and I explain.

When I was a youth, public-health inspectors used to visit our communities and inspect every yard, instructing that we bury old cans, throw earth on household garbage (composting), and get rid of objects that could harbour rats, mosquitoes and roaches. They would return, and if those things were done, we would be proud to get a shiny round disk nailed somewhere conspicuously on our house. Today, we need such a programme more than ever, and it could pay for itself.

Few persons would deny that the many objects occupying backyards, open lots and sidewalks are eyesores and health hazards. Proper notices to communities would give time to scrap them, fix them or lose them and the junk that can so suddenly appear to add mayhem to community and political disagreements would be no more, as they would be hauled to the dump. Those who wish to collect and sell scrap could do so at a special window at the facility, but this time, their scrap would be inspected. And there is more.

Metal is more economically exported if reduced to ingots, and the average vehicular derelict has a significant amount of the energy it needs to reduce it. The old tyres and plastic bottles that are collected daily that end up at the landfill is pure energy - oil. So the NSWMA could operate a furnace, and could produce castings and ingots for local industry and export out of a public-health issue.

Win-win situation

With greater sanitation benefits, this would be a win-win for Jamaica, as no longer would we bemoan pilferage of our infra-structure by scrap-metal thieves. In addition, our people who complain about a lack of employment would see the creation of at least one more vocation in a public-health inspectorate employing graduates empowered to keep Jamaica clean, safe and beautiful.

Of course, it requires legislation that gives the NSWMA authority to take possession of all scrap and to remove same after adequate notice, including possible charges levied against title holders, but I believe it would be worth it.

I am, etc.,



St Andrew