Tuesday 2nd August 2022 · Mike Smith
The new ten-year contract for rubbish collection and street cleaning in Xàbia is barely six months old but already there is great discomfort over the new rubbish collection containers and their lack of pedals which force residents to use their hands to open them, a bizarre requirement in the wake of the Covid pandemic, with many of them opting to deposit their rubbish bags outside rather than touch the lid.
In a bid to explain why these new containers don’t have pedals, the councillor responsible for Services, Kika Mata, explained to the latest plenary session of the local council that the specifications of the contract were made before the Covid pandemic, including the choice of containers, which were chosen without means of opening with the foot after some 17 years of containers that opened with a pedal.
Mata was responding to a question from PP spokesperson Rosa Cardona, who brought up the fact that the new grey containers, which are for organic household waste, don’t have pedals and that many residents don’t want to open them by hand, especially after the Covid pandemic, some actively choosing to look for the old-style containers to deposit their organic waste whilst others simply dump their rubbish outside. In addition, the new containers have a smaller capacity meaning that they fill up quicker and she claimed that the system is “already failing”.
The councillor for Services admitted that her department is “studying” the issue whilst a plot behind the football stadium is being used to store the old-style easy-opening grey containers.
The debate on the new contract continued through Compromís spokesperson, Juan Cardona, who referred to the state of the ‘Punts Verds’ – the rubbish collection zones which serve the outlying urbanizations – and in particular those located in Camí Cabanes and Saladar, both of which have suffered from uncivil behaviour from people dumping rubbish outside the containers. He said that it is not the new contract that is the problem, it is the model. He referred to the accumulation of rubbish in the Saladar and its surroundings, which he described as a possible health issue, and explained that the containers are already full to capacity on a Saturday night and there is no collection service on a Sunday. He called for an improvement in the frequency of the collection service, especially since the town is in what he referred to as a “super high season”.
Councillor Mata responded by blaming the uncivil attitudes of people and claimed that the service workers are equally frustrated. “We have improved frequencies – you cannot imagine the frustration of the workers. First thing in the morning, the ‘Punt Verds’ are cleaned but [people] don’t respect anything, it’s frustrating”. She added that Xàbia is facing a “waste revolution” in which frequencies are being increased and CCTV installed and called on everyone’s help to make that revolution a success.