Sun | Dec 3, 2023

‘Put a drum at your gate’

Improper disposal of garbage remains sore issue for central region collectors

Published:Friday | June 9, 2023 | 12:13 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
The SPM Waste Management booth at the National Solid Waste expo in the Cecil Charlton Park on Tuesday.
The SPM Waste Management booth at the National Solid Waste expo in the Cecil Charlton Park on Tuesday.


THE PUBLIC’S failure to properly containerise its garbage, continues to pose a challenge, despite improved collection efforts by the Southern Parks and Markets (SPM) waste management Limited, administrators say.

The SPM is an arm of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) with responsibility for the parishes of Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon.

“We could rid a lot of the challenges if the commercial and residential customers would properly containerise their waste. Put a proper drum at your gate and put the waste in it,” public cleansing manager, SPM Waste Management, Sheldon Smith, told The Gleaner.

Smith said the plan that takes into account the time and magnitude of work for collectors for each community is often changed on the ground, as a result of loose or scattered waste.

“A lot of times we get blamed … (as) our citizens don’t understand that the mandate of the NSWMA, more so SPM, is to only collect containerised waste. If the waste is not containerised, and scattered, we ought to leave it and enforcement people come and speak to those (concerned), then we come and pick up the waste.”

Smith added that despite the mandate, collectors, in most cases, have been clearing up scattered waste to improve sanitation and aesthetics in the communities.

With 10 new units added to the fleet of trucks, the entity has seen an improvement in collections of up to 70 per cent. In recent months the had received significant backlash and numerous calls for garbage collection backlog issues to be remedied.

“We have bought bigger units because the amount of waste that people are putting out in this country has increased astronomically … However, there are still small areas with narrow roads that we have to traverse and we have to use smaller units which are older. And as you know the reliability of the older unit goes into question a bit, so we haven’t sorted out all the challenges, but we have improved a great deal,” he added.

To satisfactorily collect for the parishes across the region, Smith said approximately 40 units would suffice.

“It’s not just the number of units, but the type of units because we have to get those that can traverse each and every road. And we still have to work out the logistics because smaller trucks can’t collect a lot of waste and only smaller trucks can go into some areas.”

As part of the National Solid Waste Week celebrations themed, ‘End travel waste: Travel wid you waste, nuh use it dutty up the place’, the SPM placed special emphasis on travel waste with a march and expo in Mandeville on Tuesday.

Community relations officer, SPM, Francina Francis, said while individuals need to take greater responsibility for how they dispose of their waste, persons have gained a better understanding of the efforts and constraints of the waste management entities through this expo and similar public education programmes. Among the partnering entities present at the expo were the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (which shared on composting), other arms of NSWMA sharing ideas on how waste can be managed, the Social Development Commission and the Southern Regional Health Authority.