SWMC officials Christopher and Phillip said sanitation workers should be valued by public. SKNIS Photo.

Sanitation workers at the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) have been saluted for diligently carrying out the vital role of helping to keep the country clean, and top officials at the SWMC are encouraging the general public to recognize and appreciate their service SWMC General Manager, Ivor Keithley Phillip, said on Wednesday’s edition of the ‘Working for You’ television and radio programme

“I’ve asked persons to treat our staff with the respect and dignity that they would want to be treated with,” Phillip said.

Mr. Phillip said that while persons are keen to pay their power bills because they enjoy electricity and their cable bills so that they can watch their favourite television shows, it would be a major problem if they were asked to pay for garbage collection.

“Let us leave their waste for two weeks and that changes the conversation,” he expressed, noting that the effects would be disastrous.

Noting that collecting garbage is challenging and there is a prevailing stigma associated with persons that perform the job, Jamella Christopher, Senior Manager of Human Resource and Communications, said that the conduct of sanitation workers who collect garbage on the trucks has vastly improved.

“We are a staff that is passionate,” she said.

“We have made our job a task job and so no worker is behind a truck for a continuous eight hours,” she indicated. “They have a specific area [to complete] and that is why you would see our men [working] vigorously and in a rush because they know they have a job to get done.”

Christopher noted that sanitation workers are also equipped with safety vests, back braces, hard hats, and appropriate work boots. When necessary, the garbage collectors are also given injections at health centres to ensure they are protected from illness.

New Optimization Model for Garbage Collection by SWMC More Practical for Consumers

The Solid Waste Management Corporation’s (SWMC) introduction of a new optimization model for garbage collection is expected to be more practical for consumers in St. Kitts.

The nationwide door-to-door garbage collection model includes additional days and pick up times for all zones and contractors assigned to each of the zones, among other pertinent issues.

“Solid Waste embarked on this journey actually one year ago with the inception of our cleanup programmes, which ran for about eight weeks. So, we went around from community to community collecting… and that is what triggered our need to change up what we already had. Not that it wasn’t working, but we just felt that it was not as efficient as we would want our collection services,” said Christopher. “It was a general consensus that waste was not being collected as frequently as the household members would have liked.”

The new model included the introduction of inspectors whose job is to ensure that waste is collected. These persons are assigned to work with St. Kitts-Nevis Disposals (SKANDIS), D&D Services and Admiral’s Enterprises, Ltd. —haulers contracted by SWMC—to assist with garbage collection.

“With our new process in place, we have employed what we call inspectors, and each of the haulers must have inspectors. That is critical to their coming onboard with us. The role of the inspectors is to visit various rounds, communities, zones… to ensure that the waste is collected and to determine by speaking to households what difficulty they may or may not encounter,’ said Phillip. “Because we are in our embryonic stage it allows us to investigate the problems and to have a hands-on approach and basically to go house to house to inspect.”

Phillip noted that garbage collection is important because non-collection and non-management of garbage would lead to health issues, as well as the obvious benefit of the beautification of the country.

“We recognize that on the face of the whole discussion, that the need to manage our waste plays a critical part, so that as part of our development thrust we at Solid Waste Management Corporation are doing our best in terms of the human development of our people through the management of waste, in an effort to make us more attractive to our visitors, more competitive and certainly cleaner,” he said. “And so, the opportunity to share with you what we deem phase one of this whole process is certainly one that we do not take very lightly.”

SWMC Manager Phillip encouraged residents to manage their waste disposal by ensuring that waste is properly sorted and safely packaged before depositing in garbage bins.