Burch: once a week trash collection to stay
Once a week garbage collection is to become permanent, the public works minister announced yesterday.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said that the aim was “to rid the country of garbage and manage the expectations of the public by not falsely promising something we cannot deliver”.
He added: “There are a number of factors that indicate that we can adequately transition — and have done so — to once a week garbage collection”.
Colonel Burch said the number of vehicles in service, workers being subjected to abuse, unreliability of pick-up, injuries to staff and high overtime costs had all influenced last year’s decision to cut twice-weekly collection to one day.
He added the yearlong trial has been successful, with overtime cut by more than half and injuries and accidents reduced.
He added: “If I spent $1.2 million in overtime to do garbage collection and I still cannot collect the garbage on time, and I am now spending $320,000, that gets my attention.”
Colonel Burch said: “We as a country are currently in budget. And we have spent time trying to get in the cash limits that have been set by the Ministry of Finance so that the Government can meet its mandate and its commitment to the people of Bermuda and also manage the debt.”
“At the end of the day, the money that we spend, the money that the Government spends, comes from all of us in this country who pay taxes.”
“And so if we can encourage folks to modify their behaviour and effect some savings and still not be a detriment to our community then I am inclined to do so.”
He said residents had adapted “magnificently” to the new schedule and only a few still complained.
Colonel Burch said: “The common refrain I have heard is that most people are pleased with the reliability of collections.”
Colonel Burch added that the weekly collection would remain despite the addition of five new trash trucks to the fleet.
He explained the new trucks, which have twice the capacity of older vehicles, were expected to improve collections in areas that have communal bins.
Colonel Burch said the new trucks could lift bins, which would tackle complaints from areas that use the large grey communal bins.
He added the trucks arrived last December and are expected to hit the roads within the next three weeks “assuming all goes well with the manufacturer’s representative”.
A new wash station is expected to be created at the Marsh Folly depot in Pembroke to ensure the latest trucks are kept in good condition.
Colonel Burch also warned people to make sure waste was bagged properly.
He said: “We are determined to address this bad behaviour by encouraging our workers to take pictures of any infractions, report it to their managers so that we can take actions.
“They are not expected to collect trash that is thrown all over the road because of someone’s bad behaviour.”
He added members of the public can also take pictures of poor disposal and send them to the ministry.
Colonel Burch said: “We will enforce the rules and address the guilty as appropriate. We, as a people, all of us must do better.”
He added that householders and businesses should consider recycling and composting.
Colonel Burch said: “We are experiencing an increase of maggots in the waste mainly due to the combination of food waste and the climate which are the perfect condition for them to flourish.”
He added the Government had bought 395 wheelie bins and 45 recycling bins, which were expected to arrive soon.
Colonel Burch said: “These will be sold at landed cost and target neighbourhoods that use communal collection.”