Late last week, the Chief Minister and the Minister for the Environment met with the GGCA President, the GGCA Britannia reps, and with the directors of Britannia plc to discuss negative comments on cleaning that had been made in the press and social media.
The GGCA was concerned that any shortcomings in cleanliness not be attributed to the Britannia workforce, as they were working hard, hand in hand with Britannia Management and the Department of the Environment to make and keep Gibraltar as clean as possible.
All sides acknowledged that past problems in relation to protective clothing, brooms, gloves and other such equipment were now resolved, but that there was still a shortage of serviceable equipment and vehicles. This is resulting in difficulty in some areas to deliver the standard of cleanliness that the community requires.
"The condition in which the vehicles and equipment was handed over by the former contractors, Master Service, has left much to be desired", continued the joint statement. "Britannia had done its best, in order to save on unnecessary costs to the taxpayer, to repair and revamp this, but with very limited success."
All agreed therefore that any shortfalls were in no way the fault of the employees.
The GGCA stated that it considered it unfair that the public discourse on the cleanliness of public areas inevitably affects the public perception of the Britannia workforce, who require the resources to carry out their work.
The GGCA was reassured to learn, from the Chief Minister and the Minister for the Environment, that following the approval of the Budget, the Government is currently purchasing the required fleet and machinery and that the water pressure machines, sweepers and vehicles will be made available to staff as soon as possible. Interim measures, such as temporary hire of equipment, is already in place.
Other measures will include:
- Cleansing and flushing frequencies will be increased in key hotspots;
- Some machines will be retro-fitted to improve flushing efficiency as a short-term measure during the dry season until the new machinery arrives;
- Reporting process for commercial and domestic cleansing issues will be reviewed;
- Facilities for BBQs will be installed in beaches and permit process reviewed.
- Additional Litter Wardens will be employed by the DEHCC.
There was consensus between all that issues of civic pride, corporate responsibility and enforcement were also important as it is a reality that, even with the best fleet of vehicles and machinery, it will not be possible to keep Gibraltar clean without the assistance of the business community and the general public. It was therefore agree to hold focused meeting of GGCA, Britannia workforce and management and the Department of the Environment and its enforcement unit, in order to work together on awareness and enhanced enforcement of litter laws.