After two weeks of not having their garbage collected by the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) some residents in the north of the island say they have now reached the tipping point.
The constant eyesore of trash spilling onto the streets is an issue which several Barbadians have been forced to deal with for months even though Minister of Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe assured as recently as last December that the island’s garbage collection issues would be addressed.
“We are aware of the concerns in the various locations with the removal of skips and the general collection of waste around certain parts of the island,” he said.
At the time, Lowe also said the Ministry of Finance was making resources available to address some of the fundamental needs of the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA). He had also emphasized that the SSA’s staff were also doing their best under the circumstances to keep Barbados clean.
However in some St Peter communities, the sight of a sanitation truck is a very rare one.
“All I know is that this is two weeks now I had my garbage put out there and we haven’t seen a truck come. I think we getting neglected,” said Franklyn Corbin, who resides in Boscobel, St Peter.
“This is really bad,” he said while pointing to a pile of garbage that was literally at his front door.
However, he quickly corrected himself, suggesting that situation was even worse than he had explained.
“Bad is not the word. Straight up the road all you can see is bare garbage when you walk or drive. Sometimes one place has more than a truck load and you can’t see a truck,” he further complained.
Corbin also said he had heard talk of SSA workers not receiving salaries, which he said might be the reason for the infrequent garbage pickups.
“We see some freight trucks hauling from time to time, but you don’t see any of the Government trucks for a joke,” he said, adding that “I asked one of the men what happen the last time I saw a truck, and one of the guys told me that they weren’t getting paid so the trucks can’t work. I also think the Government have to buy trucks. Maybe they aren’t enough,” Corbin suggested.
Another resident, Francia Haynes, told Barbados TODAY she was frustrated not only with the unpleasant sight of garbage, but rodents as well.
“Two weeks have gone and we haven’t seen a truck. Sometimes it harbours rats . . . The truck used to come normally on Saturday morning, but it hasn’t come for a while now.
“I am frustrated because we keep packing up garbage and it looks disgusting in front of the house. There is garbage all along the road and dogs pull it out and make the situation worse and when you pass, the smell is horrible.
“We would like them to do something about it because it has been a long time now. It really should be removed. I don’t think enough is being done at all,” Haynes stressed.
Over in Indiana Ground, an equally upset Suzanne Boyce said: “It is very ridiculous that the garbage can’t be collected on time. I had my garbage removed on Sunday and then again on Tuesday. Before that we had to wait for a long time. We don’t know if it will come next week either,” she said, pointing out that “the garbage troubles the environment and then you have a lot of kids who are asthmatics as well.
“Health is important and it makes the district look disgraceful,” she said,
Another resident, who requested anonymity, also vented to Barbados TODAY saying: “This is the longest time now that my garbage was out. I saw the garbage truck come down, turn around and went back up the road and look my garbage still here.”
Opposition Barbados Labour Party candidate for St Peter Colin Jordan in a written letter to Barbados TODAY expressed his concerns about the issue.
“Why do residents of St Peter have to suffer through not having their garbage collected for weeks on end? What kind of Government do we have in Barbados when even the most basic of services cannot be provided to citizens?
“The situation that many residents of St Peter find themselves in is both unhealthy and unconscionable.
“Garbage is now spilling onto the streets as garbage cans and collection points can no longer accommodate household refuse,” Jordan said.
When contacted SSA General Manager Roslyn Knight declined to comment.