Who’s to blame for garbage stench?

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By Shanique Richards

St. Kitts Reporter

On July 25 around 1:00 p.m. a garbage truck drove on Cayon Street leaving behind a liquid with a horrid stench which raised some concerns for businesses as well as persons walking around Basseterre. This is not the first time this has happened and many have said that they would like to see an end to this.

One witness told The Observer, “This is overbearing. I mean, how can someone concentrate when there is a smell like that overpowering their nostrils? Today was one of those days where many persons were in town and I mean many businesses lose customers because of this problem. Not only am I experiencing this at work but also at my residence. I think we deserve to know why there have not been any remedies for this issue.”

After hearing the concerns Wilmon Mc Call, Solid Waste supervisor for the collection of garbage responded to The Observer. He said, “I understand that the stench left behind by garbage trucks is very unpleasant. However, the leakage of the trucks comes from the fact that persons in the community do not cover their bins and when rain falls the bins collect water. Then water is then hurled into the trucks and inevitably that water then leaks out because the trucks are not “all that watertight. We have asked persons not to put organic materials in their garbage bins as well. Things like fish innards, chicken fat, leftover food, and water should be frozen and brought out an hour before the garbage is collected.  If this is done then the stench will not be there. If persons will simply adhere to the rules then we will not have this problem.”

“Anything from decomposing organic materials is a health hazard to our citizens and we are very concerned about this matter as food can become contaminated by insects such as flies if the material is left open. We act as vanguards against breakouts and we are there to post the health information but we also ask citizens to assist us in this matter,” McCall said.

He continued, “The trucks are now at least 5-6 years old and the leakage is more noticeable than when they were new so after doing so much work they have deteriorated much sooner than we anticipated. However, our teams are doing their best to replace them as soon as possible but in spite of this trucks will continue to leak if citizens do not comply with the rules.”

He also said that after each shift the trucks are washed thoroughly and sanitised daily.  “So it is not the trucks that are dirty and stinks but the garbage that we put in it,” he said. “The public should also know that Solid Waste is not the only garbage collector.  However, we have also contracted the Admiral to collect garbage in certain areas. We don’t know what routes they take or what time of day, we have absolutely no control over this. Nevertheless, I still consider the Admiral Enterprise to be our responsibility as we share a contract but still we cannot dictate their daily routine,” Mc Call said.

” I know the Admiral usually works during the time of day mentioned, but our trucks take one route in town and its Cayon Street, up College Street, along Taylor’s Range and straight to the land fill. If any of our drivers go off route they will have it coming to them,” Mc Call said. He also told the Observer that the trucks should not be working while businesses are open.  In fact the collection of garbage in the Central Street area is done around 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. when most businesses are closed.

“Anything from decomposing organic materials is a health hazard to our citizens and we are very concerned about this matter as food can become contaminated by insect such as flies if the material is left open. We act as a vanguard against breakouts and we are there to post the health information but we ask the citizens to assist us in this matter. Solid Waste is certainly addressing these issues but we ask the public to corporate to keep the environment friendly,” he said.

The Observer then spoke to the Managing Director of the Admirals Enterprise, Harrington “Juni” Bristol Senior, who also voiced his views. “We pay particular attention to leakage with our trucks however I was informed that earlier this week we did have a broken Hydraulic line on our truck and we will be correcting this matter as soon as possible.”

He continued, “It is not a normal issue where our trucks will be leaking it rarely happens and if in fact it was our truck then I would like to humbly apologise to the general public for this matter. The Admirals try to be as professional as possible.”

“The Admirals have never had a specific route for collecting garbage however, what we do is try to avoid traffic congestion as best as possible. Also we do not have any control over what people through in there garbage bins, we are only collecting what home-owners and businesses put out and you will be amazed at what we collect. However, I will ask my workers to be more vigilant when it comes to monitoring things like this. We are very mindful that we do our job with as little inconvenience to the general public as we can,” he ended.

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