New Trucks to Improve Efficiency in Garbage Collection

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Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis (right) commissioned five new garbage trucks on Monday, January 28, 2008 at the Solid Waste and Landfill Sites, Harrold Road as Senior Superintendent, Elvis McPhee looks on. (Photo/Raymond Bethel)

By: Matt Maura

NASSAU, Bahamas –
The deployment of five new state-of-the-art, fully automated garbage trucks is expected to improve the garbage collection capabilities of the Department of Environmental Health Services (D.E.H.S.) in some of the more densely populated areas in New Providence, Minister of Health and Social Development, Dr. the Hon Hubert Minnis said Monday.

D.E.H.S. increased the number of trucks in its Solid Waste Management and Collection fleet to 17 Monday, with the deployment of the five new state-of-the-art garbage trucks.

Dr. Minnis said the trucks will be placed into operation immediately.

Purchased at a price of $250,000 each, the trucks can double the collection capacity of the 12 trucks currently in use as they are capable of storing between 10-12 tonnes of garbage per trip. Five additional trucks are expected to be added to the fleet within another three weeks at a total cost of $2.5million.

Dr. Minnis said officials at D.E.H.S. have devised a two-shift system replacing the former three shift system, which he said should bring more efficiency and effectiveness to garbage collection throughout New Providence while reducing the wear and tear on the trucks currently in use.

The Day Shift will cover areas such as Bain Town, St. Agnes, Big Pond, Black Village, Miller’s Heights to Blair Estates, Grants Town, Baillou Hill Road to Collins Wall, Garden Hills, Churchill Subdivision, Redland Acres, Kennedy Subdivision, Malcolm Road, Windsor Place, Domingo Heights and Marshall, Cowpen and Carmichael Roads, including North from Godet Avenue to Fire Trail Road East.

The Night Shift will cover Pinewood Gardens east and south, Sir Lynden Pindling and Dannottage Estates, Bernard Road and side streets, Hill Side Park Estates, Jean Street, Joe Farrington Road, Hanna Road, Kool Acres, Horse Shoe Drive and surrounding areas, Elizabeth Estates, Colony Village, Princes Charles, Claridge Subdivision, Marathon Estates and Regency Park.

“We have found out that these two shifts have allowed for a more effective garbage collection policy on the island,” Dr. Minnis said. “Eliminating the 1pm-5pm shift will provide our mechanics with an opportunity to ensure that proper maintenance can be carried out on the trucks which will add to their longevity.

“Another bonus is that once we eliminate the 1-5pm shift, we won’t have the trucks out on the road during peak traffic hours thereby contributing to street congestion during that timeframe,” Dr. Minnis added.

Dr. Minnis said an increasing population, an increase in the number of households over the past five years and a decrease in the number of trucks available for garbage collection purposes have forced health officials to look at more efficient ways of collecting garbage.

He said the five trucks deployed Monday, in addition to the five scheduled for delivery to The Bahamas within the next three weeks, is part of a comprehensive approach to garbage collection and reduction, and proper environmental stewardship the Government of The Bahamas will put in place.

“We are introducing a system whereby we want to be proactive,” Dr. Minnis said. “We know that the population is growing and that home volume is increasing, and therefore we must have ongoing programmes so we can have regular purchases and maintenance of equipment so that this is never a problem again.”

Elvis McPhee, Senior Superintendent, D.E.H.S. said the addition of the five trucks will also allow D.E.H.S. officials with an opportunity to increase their response times to complaints.

He said the Department has embarked upon a density study for New Providence, the results of which should provide officials with better statistical data on the distribution of homes on the island.

“We are also looking at expanding our collection efforts into the inner-city areas and so with the arrival of the new trucks and some additional personnel. I foresee this happening in short order and so we will be able to relieve the situation that exists in these areas with regards to the frequency of our collection efforts,” Mr. McPhee said.

Superintendent McPhee said the Department will conduct a “Time and Motion Study” which he says should further enhance collection services.

“From the results of this study, we expect to be able to better manage garbage collection to the point where we can actually tell our citizens at what time of day we will be in their areas for pick-up and they can walk out of their doors and that time with garbage and we will be there. This is where we want to go and this is where we are headed in the way forward,” Mr. McPhee added.