Dear Editor: The juice is loose; managing T&T’s malodorous garbage truck menace 

EPL Properties Ltd

Wired868 is primarily a sports media outlet but I am in no way referring to OJ Simpson and his recent reintroduction into society as a free man.

What I am referring to is an issue that affects every community in Trinidad and Tobago, an issue that actually transcends race, creed, colour and class and recognises neither PDP nor PNM nor UNC party card.

Photo: Someone order some ‘Juice’?!
(via Seattle Times)

No matter where you reside, garbage disposal is a universal need you deal with on a regular basis. Almost every endeavour we pursue generates some degree of physical waste that requires subsequent removal. The disposal service is provided to us by our municipal bodies, whether it be individual residential stops or at communal pick-up locations. And the service is pretty much the same: a truck shows up on particular days, an attendant throws your garbage into the back of said truck and they move on to the next stop.

One little problem: these trucks are required to collect a lot of garbage and the volume of space on offer is finite. Thankfully, our garbage is usually made up of a lot of easily compressible materials. The dump trucks come equipped with compaction mechanisms, which they use to maximise their hauling capacity. 

And so we come back to the juicy part of this missive.

Invariably, the trucks’ machines’ rubbish compaction process results in liquids within the garbage being pressed out, creating what I call garbage juice. 

But does this garbage juice remain in the truck? Oh no! Not by a long shot! 

Photo: We got this…

It oozes, squirts, is ejected or is squeezed out onto the piece of roadway where the truck happens to be standing at the moment of compaction and then the truck moves on, leaving behind a usually small but not insignificant pool of liquid.

Of course, this compaction-leading-to-ejection process is repeated multiple times during the garbage truck’s run.

Loose, this juice launches an assault on the nostrils! The combination of juices expressed by the compression of organic and inorganic material at varying stages of decay produces odours capable of making the strongest constitution buckle.

Moreover, more than a little unsightly and definitely unhygienic, these juice pools soon attract the attention of flies, cockroaches and other such vermin. 

The heat of the tropical sun T&T enjoys does residents in the vicinity no favours and without a neighbourhood—neighbourly?—intervention in the form of hoses, buckets and brooms and, on occasion, disinfectant, one might find that one has on one’s hands a problem that can persist for days on end. 

Any resident unfortunate enough to step on or into this juicy-juicy or to drive through it might well unwittingly transfer it on to car mats, rugs, carpets, floors and similar interior surfaces.

Photo: Phew!
(via iStock)

This is by no means only a residential concern, though. The same thing happens with commercial garbage pick-ups as they all operate on the same basic principle of pickup/compress to make space/repeat as often as necessary.

On our city streets, it is often as easy to determine that the garbage truck has recently passed by the singularly unaromatic odour of garbage juice wafting on the tropical breeze as by the absence of garbage at the roadside!

Since the ejection of the liquids is an inescapable part of the compression activity, the ideal would be to design leak-proof trucks. But the R&D for that might involve another lifetime…

I therefore wish to suggest that, in the meantime, each of the existing trucks be provided with a quantity of disinfecting liquid that one of the garbage men is mandated to use on every garbage juice overspill. This will help to neutralise the offending odours and make the juice pools unattractive to the vermin which are now drawn irresistibly to them.

So even though the juice gets loose from the caboose, we can deduce that, in order to reduce the trouble that may produce, disinfectant can be put to good use to make the unpleasant odours vamoose!

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About Scotty Ranking

Scotty Ranking
Damian R. Scott is an ICT professional and a lifelong student (and part-time teacher) of language and communication. As Scotty Ranking, he frequently comments on topical issues of the day, dispensing knowledge to all and sundry.

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