Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council Holds Residents Accountable for City Litter once again

The Mayor of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, José Manuel Bermúdez (Canary Coalition), and Services Councillor, Carlos Tarife (PP), highlighted the residents of the city as the ones responsible for the litter in the island’s capital once more on Thursday. A few weeks ago, Tarife announced an awareness campaign for residents, intending to place a chair in front of the bins in various problematic areas to ensure citizens dispose of bags inside the bins. However, the execution of this measure was suspended shortly after due to a fallen branch in García Sanabria Park. As of now, the initiative has not been implemented.

Tarife faced criticism for this Campaign that squarely blames the city’s residents without acknowledging the deficiencies in the collection system. Often, containers, especially underground ones, are either full, inaccessible, or impractical for certain bags to be put inside.

Bermúdez mentioned on Thursday that an effective waste collection service is one element of the cleaning system, without delving into the rising citizen complaints about the service; the other aspect is citizens complying with the regulations.

Bermúdez highlighted in the presentation of the special neighbourhood cleaning plan that one of the regulations, which should be obvious and doesn’t require explanation, is that trash should be placed inside the bin, not beside it, in a bag, and not outside it. This oversight ignores situations where the bins are full, among other reasons, particularly in the city centre where businesses share the bins with residents.

Regarding the special neighbourhood cleaning plan, he announced an increase from 3 to 9 cleaning operations per week starting next Monday. This will raise the cleaning contract with Valoriza by €8,000, adding to a total of €142 million over 8 years, equating to €17.7 million annually.

José Manuel Bermúdez stated that with both components of the cleaning system functioning, the city will remain clean. He mentioned that although the absence of bins could be a flaw, leaving a bag of garbage “where it shouldn’t be” is also a fault. He failed to address the situation when bins are full or inaccessible, suggesting that the system is effective, and the blame lies solely on the residents.

Street Cleaning

The initial initiatives of the new cleaning operations will take place from June 18 to 20 in Barranco Grande. The special cleaning services will involve 3 supervisors, 6 skilled workers, 6 labourers, and 12 drivers.

Javier Nombela, Valoriza’s representative in the Canary Islands, highlighted that the service expansion will result in a 140% increase in company revenue. They will have 20 vehicles and 28 operators available, extending their 75,000 service days by 5,300.

The Mayor of Santa Cruz de Tenerife emphasised that even if a few residents fail to adhere to the regulations, the city will suffer from litter problems. He added, “I am no longer talking about those residents who deliberately dump rubbish, but those people who simply throw it on the street without thinking.”

Respecting Public Spaces: A Collective Responsibility

It is unacceptable to see individuals carelessly discarding cigarette butts in flowerbeds or littering despite the proximity of a trash can.

According to José Manuel Bermúdez, it is unrealistic to have someone monitoring and stopping people from littering all day long. This lack of consideration extends to property owners neglecting their plots, resulting in unsightly rubbish accumulation. Failure to dispose of waste properly, be it by littering or neglecting to use designated waste collection points, contributes to the deteriorating state of public spaces.

Mayor Bermúdez emphasises the importance of education and instilling respect for collective spaces, equating them to one’s home environment.

City Services Commissioner Carlos Tarife reports a decrease in the number of illegal waste dumping sites, highlighting progress in combatting this issue.

Tarife stresses that Valoriza workers are not responsible for collecting garbage from the ground, reminding residents that each household is within a short distance from a designated waste container.

In a proactive measure, Tarife had previously taken to public locations to enforce proper waste disposal practices, addressing the concerning trend of residents littering streets and green areas.

Furthermore, Tarife urges the community to consider the impacts of climate change, advocating for increased street cleaning efforts to mitigate the effects of decreased rainfall in Tenerife’s capital.

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