By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Department of Environmental Health Services expects to save Bahamians about $500,000 a year while creating a more efficient garbage collection system, Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett said yesterday.
His comments came after critics of the current system complained that garbage is often not collected in a timely manner.
For his part, opposition leader Dr Hubert Minnis urged the government to address the issue, explaining that piles of uncollected garbage are not only unsightly, but also create a health hazard.
In a press statement yesterday, Mr Dorsett spoke about the economic side of the garbage collection business.
He said: “In 2011 the then administration made the decision to out-source garbage collection within the inner city to three companies, namely Bahamas Waste, Impac and United Sanitation.
“At that time, the house count in those areas was 12,949 and the contracted companies were paid $5 per house. It was discovered since my taking office that the government was still being billed based on the 12,949 house count when it should have been 8,476 houses based on updated data.
“This correction affected Bahamas Waste Limited with a loss of 3,938 houses. At that time they were collecting in three areas and have since been contracted for an additional five areas, which makes Bahamas Waste the holder of the largest number of routes out-sourced by the government for residential garbage collection.
“The house count oversight was costing the Bahamian people approximately $2 million since 2011. The measures presently being initiated by the DEHS as pertains garbage collections will save the people of this country approximately $500,000 a year.”
He said: “The garbage collection contracts are entered into by the contracted company and the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS).
“These are month to month contracts renewable at that frequency. All contracts are renewed based on performance and the discretion of the DEHS as per the contract. In December 2013 the DEHS did not renew the contract with Bahamas Waste to cover the collections in Fort Charlotte and even with this adjustment, Bahamas Waste still services more routes than any other provider. Additional companies were also contracted at that time to further assist the government with garbage collection.”