THE Department of Environmental Health has released an island wide schedule to make homeowners aware of exactly when their garbage should be collected.
The move, coming after yet another round of complaints about inconsistent collection, was announced by Minister Ken Dorsett as part of an initiative that aims to improve the entire waste management system for New Providence.
“When I assumed office as the minister responsible for the Environment and
Housing, I did so determined to tackle all challenges that I encountered whether they were pre-existing or not,” Mr Dorsett said.
“One of the things that has been a challenge for Bahamians for a long time is the timely collection of refuse or garbage. This is one of the issues that I have taken on and I am endeavouring to bring solution to.”
The new schedule is organised by constituency, polling division, day of the week and time of day. Mr Dorsett said constituency maps detailing the collections routes will be distributed in the New Year and publicised throughout New Providence.
“We will also engage a cadre of volunteers to assist the DEHS in reporting whether or not the privately contracted companies are collecting waste on time,” he said.
The minister noted that because the fleet of garbage trucks owned by the government is in “a state of disrepair”, with only about half in operation in May 2012, the government decided to out source much of the work to several private contractors instead of investing in new trucks.
The companies contracted include: Boomers Trucking, Mr Pick Up, Bahamas Waste, United Sanitation, Impact, PCWM, Trash It, Direct Trucking and Garbage Man.
“Since instituting this measure the collection of garbage has gotten better,” Mr Dorsett said. “There are some issues that have been reported but by and large the new system is working.”
He also reminded Bahamians of their responsibilities with regard to the preparation of trash for collection, as outlined in the Environmental Health Services (Collection and Disposal of Waste) Regulations 2004:
• For ease and efficiency of collection, all persons shall place waste only in domestic waste receptacles or containerised storage bins, and place the bins as close as practical to a road, without obstructing pedestrian or vehicular traffic, for pick up by a collector.
• A domestic waste receptacle or containerised storage bin shall have sufficient strength and rigidity to withstand the wear and tear to which it may be subjected under normal collection procedures.
Mr Dorsett further noted that under the rules, a collector is not required to collect domestic waste from
• any waste receptacle that with the weight of its contents exceeds 70 pounds.
• any waste receptacle which due to the compaction of waste, accessibility or any other reason cannot be emptied by the collectors in a normal “free flowing” manner.
• any waste receptacle which is not suitable for holding such waste.
“Citizens should also be reminded that the collectors for residential waste are not responsible for removing bulk waste, green waste or any waste from commercial properties. This schedule presented today is for the removal of residential waste only,” the minister said.
“While the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) and by extension the Ministry of the Environment and Housing is diligently working to bring solution to this age old problem and to advance the country to a 21st century model of garbage collection, recycling and waste management in general, the people of the Bahamas, especially here in the capital, must understand that this is a two-way street.
“The government is doing its part, but so must all residents. It is a shared responsibility to keep our environment clean.
“We should not litter by throwing trash out of cars on the side of streets or anywhere that is not a designated trash receptacle. We should also ensure that trash is secured from stray animals and elements of weather, such as wind.
“We cannot continue in this careless fashion, showing little to no respect for the environment in which we live.”