You may disagree with me, but, in my opinion, the country could do a lot worse than handing over the reins of government to the people at the Solid Waste Management Authority, and I could tell you why, but instead, I’ll explain what the folk at the SLSWMA do all day.
The Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority (SLSWMA) was established in 1996 with the goal of improving existing standards of public health and environmental quality through efficient waste management.
The mission statement of the SLSWMA is “to enhance Saint Lucia’s environmental integrity and the health of her people through the provision and management of an integrated system of public education and awareness and for the collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of solid and hazardous waste.”
The mandate of the SLSWMA is to manage, regulate and treat waste either alone or in conjunction with private companies or organizations, to establish, maintain, improve and regulate the use of sanitary landfills and facilities, in accordance with established scientific principles and practices, to establish and manage facilities for the collection and treatment of hazardous waste, to establish and maintain transfer stations, to establish and promote a resource recovery system, to oversee scheduling, safety and maintenance issues associated with solid waste management, to promote and oversee public education related to solid waste management in collaboration with the relevant Ministries; and to develop a network to receive, monitor and respond to public complaints.
The Administration Department is headed by the General Manager, who oversees the implementation of the various components of the Authority’s plans and programmes.
The Accounts Department is headed by the Accountant with responsibility for the accurate accounting, documentation, control and reporting of all funds entrusted to the SLSWMA.
The Education Department is headed by the Education and Public Information Manager with the responsibility of managing the Authority’s public awareness and education activities which are aimed at providing the general populace with information and support for the Authority’s integrated waste management services.
The Operations Department is headed by the operations manager with responsibility for developing operational plans and procedures pertaining to solid and hazardous waste management, oversees works contracted by the Authority, works executed directly by employees of the Operations Department, oversees the operational aspects of the collection service and landfills.
The Authority is responsible for the collection of solid waste from households, and Government establishments, e.g. schools, hospitals, health centres, prisons, government offices. In this regard a minimum of a twice weekly waste collection service is provided throughout the island. In addition, a monthly bulky waste collection service is provided to every community. All waste collection services are privatized.
The Authority does not offer collection service to businesses. All business owners are required to contract the services of a licensed waste hauler or transport waste to the disposal facilities themselves. The Authority operates two solid waste management facilities namely Deglos Sanitary Landfill which serves the north of the island
and the Vieux-Fort Solid Waste Management Facility which serves the south of the island.
Categories of waste accepted include industrial waste, green waste, commercial waste, hazardous health care waste and derelict vehicles. Others categories of waste also referred to as special wastes accepted include asbestos, fiberglass, ship waste, condemned food, confidential documents, pharmaceuticals, construction and demolition. For the disposal of special waste, a disposal fee as well as special arrangements is required prior to the disposal of the above items.
Now, think back a few years and compare those times to today. The SLSWMA has done a magnificent job not only in collecting garbage but also educating the populace in how to keep their environment clean.
Given the amount of political crap and garbage that clogs the country’s lifelines, we should seriously consider giving the SLSWMA a chance to clear up the mess, teach us how to do better, and live within our means to create a sustainable, renewable environment for progress.