Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley promised the arrival of 10 garbage trucks before year end, and today, Saturday, December 21, those trucks arrived in Barbados.
Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, speaking at the Bridgetown Port, stated: “At a critical moment when we’re faced with the issues of waste across the country, on the eve of Christmas, we are now in possession of 10 new trucks; this is going to take us up to 19 [new] trucks.”
Minister Prescod disclosed that all of the proprietary work (licensing/insurance) that is required would be completed as soon as the trucks were out of the harbour and stated: “Everybody in the SSA is already prepared to get to work and all the required schedules are already in place…. So, as early as Monday morning or at least no later than Monday mid-day the trucks will be on the road and ready for garbage collection.”
The Minister added that he “expects to see a substantial reduction in waste across Barbados”.
In January this year, two Mitsubishi Refuse Compactor Vehicles, each costing $600,000, arrived on the island. By May, the Sanitation Services Authority (SSA) had added five new garbage trucks to its fleet, and yesterday added an additional two trucks, which were delivered from Simpson Motors.
With these additional 10 left-hand drive Navistar trucks out of Mexico, at a cost of BDS $400,000 each, the fleet of new trucks at the SSA stands at 19.
SSA Chairman, Rudy Grant, said the biggest challenge to the SSA was the number of trucks available to collect garbage, and some days only 12 trucks were available to service the entire island.
He noted that those trucks were very old and unable to make trips to areas like St. Andrew and St. Joseph because of the terrain, and with the new trucks, it is expected that they would bring some resolve to the waste problem in those areas.
Stating that “a lot of extra parts” had also been imported to assist in the maintenance necessary for the Navistar trucks, whose capacity is around 20 tonnes, similar to the large garbage trucks already in operation, Mr. Grant said: “We are ensuring as well that we put the appropriate maintenance programme in place, so that we can keep these vehicles constantly rolled out and working.”
The purchase of the trucks was made possible through financing from the SSA and the Ministry of Finance, and Mr. Grant disclosed that an additional 10 new trucks would arrive early in the new year, which would bring the number of new trucks to 29. He said this would bring the total SSA fleet to over 40 garbage trucks.
In addition to the new trucks, the Chairman noted that other measures had been instituted to improve the service of the SSA, including ‘job hands’ and tractors.
“Those job hands are going to facilitate the driving of trucks as well as lorry loaders. In addition to that, an enhanced skip programme, where we’ve placed a number of skips across Barbados to facilitate a better collection of garbage.”
Mr. Grant urged the public to work with the SSA to seek to make Barbados a much cleaner place. Minister Prescod thanked Chairman Rudy Grant, the administration and staff for their efforts in increasing the number of garbage trucks, and members of the public for their patience during the “garbage crisis”.