National clean-up drive kicks off in Diego Martin

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A truck dumps debris at Surprise Grounds, St Lucien Road, Diego Martin on Saturday, one of the collection sites, at the start the national clean-up campaign. – Angelo Marcelle

The national clean-up initiative, WeCleanTT, began on Saturday in Diego Martin and will continue on Sunday.

People are encouraged to put out their household garbage, bulk waste such as furniture and appliances, grass and tree trimmings tyres, and derelict vehicles to be collected and disposed of. Organisers urged residents to send a picture and pin the location via WhatsApp to 707-9122 or 707-9130.

Speaking to Sunday Newsday at Surprise Grounds in Diego Martin, MP for Diego Martin Central Symon de Nobriga said the initiative will be followed by each corporation over the next few months. And, although there have been a few teething problems co-ordinating resources, in general, it has been running smoothly, he said

“One of the lovely things about this is the co-ordination that takes place. Of course, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (Faris Al-Rawi), who is building on the experience of the 2017 national clean up, has brought all these resources from outside contractors and arms of the State.”

He explained that different nearby corporations including Port of Spain City, Tunapuna/Piarco Regional, and San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporations were providing assistance as well as private contractors such as Laing, Namalco and Kallco.

The TT Fire Services and Regiment also provided equipment and personnel to operate them. And the Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme was clearing overgrown lots, dealing with recycling tyres, and turning grass and tree cuttings into mulch to be used in a “more productive manner.”

“Interestingly enough scrap iron dealers are driving around and picking things up. So they are an additional resource that wasn’t factored in.

“We are seeing all the resources of State coming together and really working. This is just the kick-off point. Next weekend all of these things will be shifted to San Juan/Laventille and we will go through the country, corporation by corporation, cleaning this country, which is a timely and much needed service.”

He stressed that WeCleanTT was separate from the cleanup and desilting of watercourses by the Works and Transport Ministry which usually takes place before the rainy season.

Keeda James councillor for Diego Martin Central and chairman of health at the corporation thanked all who provided manpower support and equipment including loaders, backhoes, excavators, tractors, and trucks.

“In order to shorten the time taken for a truck to leave a location and head to the Beetham dump, we created transfer sites. Garbage is being collected and temporarily placed at the sites. Simultaneously we have ten-wheelers and backhoes loading up at the transfer sites and heading to the dump, shortening the turn-around time of the trucks picking up garbage from households.”

They will also be targeting watercourses leading into the Diego Martin River.