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Hotelier demands garbage drop-off sites in Negril to ease backlog

Published:Monday | December 4, 2023 | 12:06 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Audley Gordon, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority addressing residents and stakeholders about solid waste concerns at a town hall meeting at the Negril Community Centre in Negril, Westmoreland.
Audley Gordon, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority addressing residents and stakeholders about solid waste concerns at a town hall meeting at the Negril Community Centre in Negril, Westmoreland.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Businessman and hotelier Richard Wallace has asked the Western Parks and Market to find convenient places in Negril, Westmoreland, where people can leave the garbage they generate until collection services are available.

“There is a need for drop-off points in the area,” Wallace said of the resort town of Negril while addressing the Western Parks and Market town hall meeting at the Negril community centre in that parish.

According to Wallace, who is the owner and managing director of Boardwalk Village, given the unsightly pile-up of garbage all over the town, drop-off points are needed as most residents do not have the capacity to store solid waste.

“Some people really want to dispose of the garbage; they do not want to keep it at home. They don’t have anywhere to keep it, and I know people will bring their garbage to a nearby point where it is reasonable that they can put it and you [WPM] can take it up,” the hotelier explained.

If those solid waste points are established, they will help to restore pride, a much cleaner and healthier Negril and everybody will once again be happy.

“I would implore you to revisit that idea, and I know it can get out of hand, but I think the focus should be on managing, instead of brushing it aside altogether,” Wallace told Audley Gordon, the executive director at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), who was fielding questions and suggestions from residents and stakeholders on the business of managing solid waste.

He said the NSWMA’s executive director’s message about changing the behaviour and culture is well received, but that process is more of a long-term solution and does not help with the immediate needs of the people or the resort in general.

“What we would like to see are some short-term solutions to the garbage problems. I know we have limited resources and issues with management and equipment, and we are not going to be unrealistic with our demand,” the hotelier noted.

Said Wallace, “That transfer station that we have been talking about for a while;that is what we want to see happen immediately. Driving a garbage truck for 70 miles is ridiculous; it is stupid and crazy. We should not be doing that, and we need to fix that now.”

He said, if that is fixed, we will be shortening the journey on the trucks, and the trucks will be able to make more trips in quicker times.

Gordon did not immediately respond to the suggestions, but noted that Lyttleton Shirley, chair of the enterprise team managing the proposed divestment of the Riverton Landfill, to include establishing a waste-to-energy system in Jamaica and the contracting out of the solid-waste collection and solid-waste management of the country, is at a critical point to provide an update to the country.

Ten years ago, the NSWMA announced that funds had been identified for the construction of a garbage transfer station in the community of Frome, Westmoreland, but that plan failed to get off the ground. Earlier this year, Gordon led a team that toured the facility; the results of that tour had not been made public.

However, speaking during a similar stakeholder meeting in 2022, Gordon said his agency was awaiting a report from the National Works Agency (NWA) to help determine the size and length of vehicles to be used to transport the garbage from Frome to the Retirement landfill in St. James, given the existing road network.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com