Thursday 29th September 2022 · Mike Smith
Source: Ajuntament de Xàbia
The implementation phase of the new cleaning contract is almost 75% complete, a complex process for what is the biggest municipal contract and which has involved the complete replacement of waste collection containers, cleaning equipment and waste collection trucks as well as the training of a workforce of around 100 workers.
During the first seven months of the year, the town has generated 8,382 tons of waste, an increase of 10% of last year, whilst recycling has also increased; 41% more cardboard is being selectively disposed, 21% more glass and 7.5% more plastic and containers. In addition, the collection of home goods has grown exponentially with the management of some 1,600 tons between January and July, practically the same amount as the whole of 2021.
The councillor responsible for Services, Kika Mata explained that the implementation phase of the new contract has served to test and make necessary adjustments during the busier summer months, a time when the needs and problems of day-to-day waste collection and management are multiplied due to the increase in the population during the high season.
Mata highly valued the perceived improvements in street cleaning (the streets are washed down daily with pressurized water and detergents), the machinery is now electric, meaning that it is quieter in the environment, whilst it also has complementary functions such as cutting weeds and beach cleaning, including renewal of the sieves and the incorporation of a boat for cleaning those points along the coast which are difficult to access.
Regarding waste management, some 1,000 waste collection containers which are distributed throughout the municipality are emptied at the collection plant in El Campello. In addition, a “review service” has been implemented that visits the collection points several times to deposit bags that users leave out inside the containers or report the existence of spills, etc. There is also a specific machinery for the sanitization of the containers with pressurized water.
With regards to the ‘puntos verdes’, the collection points, eight of them have already been fenced off and surveillance cameras installed. Over the next few months, they will all be reorganised and access controlled through the use of cards which will be issued to residents of the areas served by specific collection points. This measure, together with the increase in surveillance and strategic visits of the mobile ecoparque to the most problematic areas, has managed to considerably improve the image of the town, especially in the last month. The opening hours of the ecoparque have also been extended and it now opens on Saturday afternoons.
One of the most common complaints about the new contract has been the lack of pedals to open the containers without having to touch them and Mata explained that pedals will be installed on some of the containers in the urban areas to evaluate them, both from a social perspective and from a technical side.
With regards to what remains pending, the councillor explained that the reorganisation and fencing off of all the collection points need to be finished, a new warehouse is to be constructed to house all the service equipment, whilst a new fifth “brown” container is to be introduced for pure organic waste.
Finally, Mata stressed that the waste collection service is undergoing a comprehensive changes and that the population must embrace that its involvement is necessary, which is why 2% of the annual budget has already been allocated to awareness and education actions. In addition, her department is working on a change to municipal bylaws that toughen sanctions for those who do not respect the collective effort of the popultion and continue to illegally dump rubbish.