Relief is coming for communities affected by a lack of, or limited garbage collection within recent weeks.

This assurance has come from Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, who has also apologised to residents in communities for the challenges presently being encountered by the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) in collecting waste from homes.

Speaking at the SSA???s Southern Depot at Vaucluse, St. Thomas during a press briefing today, Dr. Lowe said Government invested $4.5 million in purchasing nine new vehicles to improve the SSA???s service to householders, bringing the present complement to 23.

But, he said, given Barbados??? growing population and housing stock, ideally the SSA should have at least 45 trucks on the road daily, including those for recyclables to adequately service the entire island.

??????From time to time concerns have been expressed relative to the consistency with which waste is being collected around the country. And indeed, I would be the first to admit that we have had challenges, and that many of those challenges did not result from a lack of commitment on the part of the Authority, or a lack of dedication on the part of the workers, but more challenges that are equipment specific and that we have been trying to address in a consistent and aggressive way,??? he said.

???People with challenges are already getting relief, and I want to apologise to communities which were challenged,??? the Minister said.

He noted that in addition to the nine new collection vehicles, two new skip vehicles and additional service vehicles were acquired Dr. Lowe also stated that the continued modernisation of the Authority in each sphere of its operations was paramount.

???There will be a serious review of the collection routes; [and] there would be a serious review of the equipment maintenance to ensure that when we invest half million dollars in a piece of equipment, that that piece of equipment gives us a reasonable life span in terms of its service in the authority,??? he added.

The Drainage Minister said that the investment came at a time when some persons would argue that Government should be spending money in other areas. ???But, I do not want to risk putting citizens??? health at risk,??? he stated, warning that that could be the result if collection services were not at the required levels.

The Minister made it clear that he did not want any area left out of the services offered by the SSA. ???This is a time when Government has to be extremely wise in how it allocates funds for different purposes. [But,] one of the things this Government prides itself on is that the quality service presented to our public must never be compromised regardless of the circumstances.

???And, in spite of what we are going through now, we are seeking to ensure that those essential social good services continue to be provided unimpeded,??? he stated.

Dr. Lowe also advised homeowners to dispose of their waste in a timely manner, ensuring that it is placed in a container with holes at the bottom.

???There is a role for the public to play. Building a society is a shared process and I want all citizens to be a part of the process,??? he said.

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