SSA ready to collect bagged volcano ash
Open-back lorries from other government agencies will assist the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) with its plan to collect bagged volcano ashes from residents and businesses around the island starting on Wednesday.
Public relations officer Carl Padmore said the SSA would not be using the regular garbage collection units to remove the ash, but vehicles from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance (MTWM) and the National Conservation Commission would assist with the collection.
“It’s going to be a bit tedious, but we think we are up to the task,” he said. “That’s why we have divided Barbados into zones, in terms of two parishes each, and St Michael will be the last.
“We think that’s manageable, and we are just hoping that we can get the cooperation of the members of the public.”
The build-up of ash around the country came following the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in the neighbouring island of St Vincent and the Grenadines two Fridays ago.
Following about four or five days of consistently heavy to moderate ashfall from the volcano, residents, businesses and government agencies have been busy cleaning up around Barbados.
Padmore said this caused a few problems for the SSA with some residents placing ash into the regular garbage.
“We are seeing (people) trying to get away with co-mingling the ash with the normal household waste,” he said. “That is causing problems for our compactor vehicles.
“We also have the issue of (people) leaving where they live and going to the communal garbage skips that we have around the island and placing the ash in them.”
He said: “What that is doing is making the skips quite heavy and posing problems because the skips must carry a particular weight for the levers to work.
“If they are too heavy, they will break the levers on the truck, so we are asking the public to bag the ash and have it next to, but not co-mingling with the household waste, and we will collect as we have scheduled.”
Padmore said the SSA will not follow their normal routes to collect the ash, so he urged residents and businesses to call the agency’s collection hotline, and they would make sure that they were included.
“If we were to follow (the normal routes), it will be difficult and time-consuming,” he said. “There are some communities that do not need it because (people) would have given the ash to farmers and taken it elsewhere to use.
“We would prefer if people would call, so that we can plan the collection routes strategically. You will also recall MTW would have started some of this collection last week.”
Padmore said regular garbage collection had started to run smoothly again, after a stoppage last Tuesday because sanitation workers had to contend with ash being blown into the air by speeding motorists in particular.
“We are not working as slow as last week because a lot of the ash is now off the ground,” he said.
“But there are some pockets where it is still affecting the loaders, so an area that we may have taken five hours to clear normally, we have to stretch it and the workers have to go back the next day.”
Padmore said, however, he expected the SSA to normalise refuse collections by the end of this week.
Collection schedule below.
Collection Schedule 7 a.m. – noon:
Wednesday 21st April 2021
Thursday 22nd April 2021
Friday 23rd April 2021
Monday 26th April 2021
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Wednesday 28th April 2021
St Michael (AR)