A team from the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) and the Ministry of the Environment and National Beautification is to travel to Europe shortly to examine used garbage trucks, as the Mia Mottley-led Government seeks to beef up the SSA’s fleet of vehicles.
“We are going to be sending a group of experts from the ministry to Europe to look at the options available on that market, and we should make a decision on that by the end of this week,” Minister of the Environment and National Beautification Trevor Prescod told reporters today in making the disclosure.
It follows the announcement made by the Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Finance, in her mini Budget presentation two weeks ago that Government was planning to purchase some 15 used trucks for the SSA, which, owing to a shortage of vehicles, has faced significant challenges in collecting garbage in some parts of Barbados.
When asked about some of the issues the SSA faced in keeping its trucks in good running order, Prescod said, “I am confident in the team of mechanics we have at the SSA”.
“[However], we must remember that some of the maintenance work was carried out by other companies who charged astronomical rates and did not always do the best job,” he said.
“Sometimes when the trucks came back, some other fault cropped up and they broke down again. The SSA staff told me the challenges they are facing, and when we decide which trucks we are purchasing we know we will need spare parts like engines and transmissions, and the SSA people have told us we must standardize these trucks as much as possible so we do not have to go all over the world looking for parts if one of them breaks down.”
The minister was speaking at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre just after the Project Management Coordination Unit, the organization responsible for the island’s solid waste management programme, officially relaunched its website and a boardgame, Waste Busters, aimed at schoolchildren.
He also announced that the first in a series of national clean ups would take place this weekend as the unit concluded its celebration of Environment Month.
“During this clean up effort on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1, we will be clearing drains, removing household garbage and bulk waste, including derelict vehicles, as well as debushing and landscaping. Government agencies, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations are already on board, and we are encouraging community groups, individuals and even tourists to come out and take part in this effort. We see this as the start of a national beautification campaign and want to do these clean ups at least twice or three times a year.”
When asked how his ministry plans to sustain this effort over time, Prescod said: “If you practice something for a considerable period of time, you will see a psychological change and when clean surroundings become the norm, we will understand the benefits of having a clean and aesthetically pleasing environment and keep it that way.”