Private waste haulers engaged by the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) to collect garbage in four parishes are being accused of doing such a poor job that SSA workers had to clean up after them.
Concerns about the effectiveness of the garbage collection arrangement – under which the private truckers service St Philip, St Peter, St Lucy and St John – were raised Friday by sources within the SSA and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), both of which have opposed the arrangement.
They told Barbados TODAY the haulers were not doing the job for which they were being paid $411 per hour for eight hours a day, Monday to Friday.
In fact, the NUPW source charged that SSA workers, who are paid less per day to collect garbage, were having to pick up the slack of the private operators who were leaving some areas undone.
The union source also complained that while the sanitation workers operated from the back of their trucks and had to pick up rubbish, the private haulers were merely putting down skips for householders to dump their refuse.
However, spokesman for the private waste haulers Charles Read described the claims rubbish, explaining that the use of skips was nothing new.
“The SSA has always employed skips in some of the housing districts from day one – Eden Lodge, Haynesville, the Pine, all these places have a set of skips in these densely populated housing areas and the residents then put the stuff into the skips and they get moved with a compactor,” Read said.
He added that each private operator services specific routes within the various parishes, not the entire parish.
“It just have specific routes in those areas. So you are coming to me with information that is a bit mixed up. The fact that the SSA is going out to service some of those routes does not necessary mean that the private haulers are not doing what they are contracted to do,” emphasized the private waste haulers coordinator.
One of the operators who helped strike the deal with the SSA, Anderson Fat Child Cherry was also adamant that both sources were wrong in their interpretation of what was happening.
Cherry explained that due to the size of the parishes, the SSA and private haulers shared the collection coverage, stressing it was almost impossible for any single private truck to service a parish as large as St Philip in one day.
“There are areas in St Philip that I have and areas that Sanitation would still do. There are areas in St John that I would do and areas in St John that I would not do . . . and the same thing with all the other parishes,” said the chief executive officer of Jose Y Jose Liquid and Solid Waste Management Inc.
Meantime, Read is calling on Barbadians to be conscientious when they utilize the skips, advising against placing material in them that out not be placed there.
He complained that people in some of the housing districts outside of the four parishes were abusing the skips by placing tree trunks and cuttings, and even concrete in them.
He cited an example of a man in Wellington Street, The City who had been renovating his home at the weekend.
“He took it upon himself to take all the old boards and load up the skip to the maximum and then he put all his stuff all around the skip, and the SSA then had to go with Bobcats and dump trucks to basically clean up his construction site,” Read lamented.
“This service is here to collect soft garbage and what we call municipal solid waste . . . stuff coming out of your house . . . kitchen waste, bathroom waste, things like that. Soft compactable garbage. But if you are doing gardening or you are doing home repairs, you would then order a skip, you would put it down . . . you would load all of that heavy bulky stuff in the skip,” Read said.