Environment

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Whitfield Town rues lack of garbage collection

BY SASHA ROWE
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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THE garbage in Whitfield Town and its environs has not been collected in the past four weeks, leaving residents both upset with the government waste disposal agency and worried about their health as the mounds of garbage bags and overflowing bins have quickly become hosts to rats, flies, roaches and mosquitoes.

Residents report that despite numerous calls to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) they continue to wait.

The affected areas include Wellington Road, Alexander Road, Rodney Road, Ashley Road, Fiddies Road, Whitfield Avenue, and Metcalfe Road, all of which are bordered by Maxfield Avenue and Waltham Park Road.

“I call like weekly and they apologise for the non-collection of garbage and they say that they are currently short on trucks. But garbage is being collected on two roads away from where I live, so I don't understand,” Georgia Tucker said in reference to the NSWMA.

The agency's regional operations manager Adrian Grant admitted to the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the company is having a problem with garbage collection, but he blamed it on private contractors.

“We do have a challenge. We don't have all the resources as we would like and so we contract private contractors, but they aren't as reliable as we would like,” he said.

The non-collection of garbage has affected homes, schools, churches, and businesses.

Principal of Galilee Early Childhood Development Centre Fearon Morgan-Howell accuses the garbage collection agency of being complacent.

“It is terrible. It is terrible. They used to come once per week, but now they come once every two weeks on these streets, while at the same time they come on the main (road) every single morning and we are just a turn-in off the main. We have to cover up the garbage pans and when those are full we have to use garbage bags and there are times when it gets too much and we have to drag them out to the main road,” he explained.

Those who are unable to lug the garbage to the main road themselves have to pay to have it done. Resident and business owner Shirley Stewart is one of them.

“Is three weeks now I don't see a garbage truck and we have to pay to carry them (garbage bins) down on Waltham Park Road and when the truck passes you go back for the pans. I can't manage to carry them out so I have to pay, and is $150 per drum and is four drum (I have). I can't stand the rat, roaches and flies, not to mention the mosquitoes, so I pay this weekly or even two times per week,” she reported.

For others, walking to the main road laden with bags or drums of garbage is difficult. And the threat of violence doesn't make it any easier.

“We just have to stock them up in the yard,” said Michelle Braham. “If yuh put them out, dog will drag them out so we really nuh have a choice. Or sometime we will burn them. Yeah, we know it wrong but we have to burn them because the mosquitoes them too much, man. ”

Another resident, Elaine Rufus, complained: “Is one month now I don't see a garbage truck. I have to pack up the garbage on the shelf so the dogs don't go in and destroy them. The truck needs to come like now!”

Latoya Taylor painted a picture of dire urgency.

“Is 10 of us living in the yard and this is the garbage area and we have young babies in the yard. We have to tie up the Pampers in the rice bags. Sometimes we really can't wait on the truck to carry out some to the main, because of the dogs. And the rain and garbage only a breed up the mosquito and them not spraying the area either.

“Dem need fi come collect them now!” she stressed.

Out on the main roads, the residents have resorted to using the bins provided by Jamaica Social Investment Fund as a part of a waste separation and compost project to dispose of their unsorted garbage.

The NSWMA's Grant told the Observer that he believes the resdients are producing too much garbage as bins begin to fill up shortly after the garbage is collected.

“I do admit that we have a problem, but we currently have two trucks in the area and we are expecting the entire area to be cleaned by this evening or by tomorrow,” he advised.

When the newspaper made checks with the residents yesterday, none reported having seen or heard any truck.

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