With the lack of adequate garbage collection being a recurring source of contention for many residents across the island, Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Desmond McKenzie, has pleaded for the affected persons to exercise some patience.
In fact, McKenzie said a number of garbage trucks are on the way to the island to help to rectify the solid waste collection challenges that are now being experienced.
“We have seen footage sent to me where the garbage truck came and five minutes after, persons are disposing of the garbage outside…,” the minister told reporters after the handing over of two houses in Central Kingston last week.
“I just want to appeal to everybody again, just have some patience. The trucks are on (their) way and we will be seeing an improvement in terms of the efforts of solid waste over the next two weeks leading up into the Christmas holidays,” McKenzie assured.
The Government had indicated that 50 new garbage trucks were purchased and would arrive in the country shortly, to help alleviate the problem.
Over recent months, citizens have been complaining about inadequate garbage collection across the country, and have laid the blame squarely at inefficiencies within the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
Last Sunday, McKenzie, while accepting that there was no denying that there has been a breakdown in garbage collection, contended that if past People’s National Party (PNP) Administrations had invested in solid waste, then the country would not be in the position it is relative to the issues of solid waste disposal.
“When I became minister in 2016, the National Solid Waste Management Authority never had 10 garbage trucks,” McKenzie told a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Area Council One meeting at Jacques Road Community Centre in South East St Andrew.
“Between 2016 and 2018, this Administration put in 63 new trucks into the National Solid Waste Management Authority,” he added.
In noting that much resources hade to be channelled into the health sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McKenzie said the Government had to “postpone” the purchase of the trucks.
He told the meeting that he saw videos of the 50 new garbage trucks being driven on a ship to be brought to the island.
The JLP deputy leader, however, stressed that even if 1,000 garbage trucks are imported, Jamaicans will have to change their attitude towards littering and solid waste disposal.