FOR years now, proper disposal of garbage in Georgetown has been a challenge not only to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) but to residents who live and work in the municipality.
A major contributing factor, over time, has been the irresponsible dumping of refuse by store owners and other businesses.
To date, those individuals in the City’s commercial areas continue to disregard the pleas of the Council to have a proper disposal system in place.
“They don’t have receptacles, so they just leave the stuff out… As much as we try to advocate for them to get bins, they just have makeshift ones like boxes and plastic,” Head of the City’s Solid Waste Management Department Walter Narine said on Monday.
Unable to persuade the business owners in this regard, the Council recently took a decision to provide a second clearance in the commercial areas during the period of November 15 to February 4 to cater for increased garbage during the holiday season.
This means that all of the streets in the commercial areas are being cleared in the morning at 08:00hrs, and then again at 18:00 hrs. In between these times, the practice of store owners to leave their garbage in front of their stores, on pavements, and parapets continues to create an eyesore to residents and shoppers.
In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, Narine stressed that the City Council ensures that it cleans the area twice daily. As his department continues to manage three groups in Georgetown, the garbage contractors attached to the M&CC have been doing a fairly good job so far, he observed.
“No system is perfect; there is room for improvement all the time, but, generally, it’s doing good,” Narine said.
According to him, the Council recently approved the purchase of two additional garbage trucks, which should be in operation before mid-December. These were purchased primarily for picking up parapet wastes.
“This will be a tremendous boost to the City, and save the Council money, because we’ll do it ourselves. What we really want to achieve this year is a clean Christmas; a clean season. We don’t want to have pockets of garbage anywhere,” Narine stated.
The Ministry of Public Works has also been spearheading an enhancement initiative in the City, and has been assisting the City Council with internal drainage in Queenstown, Alberttown, and on Regent Street and other locations. “This is assisting the Council greatly, because we’re heading into the rainy season, and we really don’t want to have any flooding,” Mr. Narine said.
Beginning today, Narine and team will be installing garbage receptacles in six avenues of the City.
Earlier this year, Narine had lamented that market waste, especially in the environs of Bourda, along with an increase in coconut shells that are being dumped on just about any open space in the City, was significantly affecting the work of the Council.
The majority of the vendors who engage in this practice do not live in Georgetown, but are merely here to sell their produce. As such, Narine had said that they have no regard for the environs in which they operate daily. In fact, all they seem to be concerned about is that their garbage is being removed at a very minimal cost, such as by employing the services of social rejects to do the dumping for them.
“Nobody comes forward with a video or a picture of somebody dumping at these sites so we can arrest them; nobody does that. When there’s an accumulation, then all the blame comes on City Hall’s shoulders, and it’s unfair. It’s a fight to get out of this scourge of dumping garbage all over and anywhere,” Narine said as he recalled how the notorious 2005 floods happened not only because of overtopping, but due to clogged drains as well.