There are a few things that are threats to the standard of living of the community of Charity on the Essequibo Coast and one of those is the improper disposal of garbage that has been a constant problem over the past few years.
This is the view of Overseer of the Charity/Urasara Neighbour-hood Democratic Council (NDC), Samuel Sooklall. Sooklall blamed Puran Brothers for part of the garbage problem but the company has denied this.
The NDC is responsible for the disposal of the Charity Amazon Market Waste and a temporary disposal site was developed at the Charity Tarmac, directly in front of the Charity Magistrate’s Court and the Charity Car Park. Just a stone’s throw away, a structure funded by Central Government was erected nearly two years ago where waste should be placed until it is picked up by Puran Brothers Inc workers but the gate to the structure is currently locked. This newspaper was told that until proper cement flooring is done, it will remain closed.
Sooklall is however contending that even though the disposal site at the Charity Market is not where it is supposed to be, Puran Brothers workers can do better in keeping the environs surrounding the bins clean. The contract between the NDC and Puran Brothers Inc. was made on the 13th January 2013 and will expire on January 2nd, 2028.
“We usually pay Puran Brother’s $95,000 every month to dispose of the market garbage in Charity. During seasons such as Christmas, we usually have a little excessive amount of garbage. Six days a week Puran Brothers was contracted to empty the garbage but during this Christmas season, they only did so for three days. What we have noticed however is that whenever the barrels that the garbage is put into is overflowing, Puran Brothers workers would just sweep the top of the barrels and whatever excess garbage falls out, they would leave them right there on the ground. Now that is not all. The NDC usually assists with our tractor and trailer to pick up the garbage that is left on the ground but now they (Puran Brothers) are asking the NDC to pay $10,000 for one trailer of garbage to dump it at their dump site. Now I must say that the site that Puran Brothers is using as their dump site was not even declared by the Environmental Protection Agency. The area was not approved as a garbage site and on top of that, they blocked the National Drainage and Irrigation Dam that leads to the site with a gate so now persons who have farms in the area have to use boats to get to their farms instead of the dam that was provided”, Sooklall stated
Sooklall said that on several occasions, the NDC made complaints but nothing was done by the company.
“The former chairperson of the Charity/Urasara NDC made several complaints and nothing was done so we are now hoping the Puran Brothers workers pull themselves up. The main issue we have is the excessive garbage and we are trying to get the dump site to throw the garbage because the NDC will continue to assist in picking up the waste but we should not be asked to pay $10,000 for each trailer load of garbage just because we want to dump it at the site. The NDC is supposed to get access to the site because after all, we should all be working along together”, Sooklall added.
When contacted for a comment on the issue, Anuradha Dass, Puran Brothers representative for Essequibo said that the company she represents is only being paid to empty the bins and not to clear the ground of garbage.
“The NDC promised to provide an enhancement worker to work along with our worker every morning when he clears the garbage. And our worker do not sweep off the excessive garbage from the bins. If you are going to roll the bins, then stuff will fall off from the top. Our workers are not supermen to hoist the bins and empty them. Even if they don’t sweep off the top of the bins, any extra garbage is going to fall off. Because of this same reason I asked them (NDC) to provide a worker who will work along with us to clear the ground and they did that for a short period of time and then stopped. What I got to understand is that during the Christmas Holidays people who don’t have bins went and throw stuff there at the tarmac so that is why we are charging them that extra money because of the extra garbage. It is not a case where our workers just empty the stuff from the bins. The $10,000 that we are asking for is just for the extra garbage that was there during the holidays. We are only getting paid to empty twenty-five bins and it is not the responsibility of our workers to pick up any extra garbage. We came to a negotiation that if the NDC wants more bins they can be provided but they did not agree so we are not going to pick up garbage from the ground. We don’t have a problem with helping to pick up the garbage from the ground but they would need to provide a worker to work along with us and they failed to do so.”
When Stabroek News visited the area at the Charity Market, the stench of the garbage was almost unbearable and because the garbage is usually placed in unsecured barrels, it attracted dogs who were seen ravaging the waste and the garbage that was blown around made an unsightly scene.
Hire car drivers who use the car park on a daily basis voiced their concerns about the garbage site being where they have to ply their trade and complained about the health hazard that the garbage poses to them.
“In the first place, I don’t know why the garbage bins are there. This just makes the place look dirty. Is every day we have to be here and when you want passengers, it’s like you have to direct them to go into the garbage heap when you want them to go in the cars. You can see that we park directly in the garbage site here. They need to clean up this area. Imagine the police station and the Court is right here and that is where the garbage site is. Only God could help us to endure the smell of the garbage every day. You would feel is only now this thing happening. Is over three years Charity get a garbage disposal problem. That is how long this thing is like that and nothing is being done,” one hire car driver said.
During the rainy seasons, the Charity Tarmac is easily flooded because the drains that are supposed to allow for the free flow of water are clogged with garbage.