As communities across Jamaica face nightmarish garbage pile-ups due to the breakdown in garbage collection, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that 50 new garbage trucks are on their way to the island to revamp the waste agency’s current limited fleet.
At the Jamaica Labour Party’s last conference at the National Arena, Prime Minister Holness announced the planned purchase of 100 new garbage compactor trucks for the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) in the 2020/21 financial year. However, that purchase was later postponed and then curtailed due to the reported reallocation of funds during the novel coronavirus pandemic to support the health sector.
On Monday, the Prime Minster announced the incoming shipment of trucks on his social media pages, posting a short video of the new compactor trucks.
“50 garbage trucks are currently on their way to Jamaica. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, funds had to be diverted from purchasing 100 trucks. Now we are coming back on track with 50 of the 100 trucks to arrive this month,” Prime Minister Holness stated.
The NSWMA’s limited fleet has contributed to the country’s severe garbage pile-up across the island, plaguing the western parishes in particular. In March, the Western Parks and Markets (WPM), the regional arm of the NSWMA, reported a massive impact by an approximate 62% shortfall in the required state-owned garbage trucks that were needed to sufficiently serve the western parishes. Out of its fleet of 20 trucks, the WPM had only 13 functioning state-owned vehicles at the time, while 35 were required. Faced with an inadequate number of garbage trucks, the agency was forced to run night shifts, use tipper trucks to collect waste from certain areas, and use private contractors to fulfil their schedule.