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Govt promises new resources to ensure clean streets

Britannia Cleaning Services 01- 09 -18 (Photos Johnny Bugeja )street cleaners first day having taken over from Master Services

Below-standard cleanliness in some public areas and streets in Gibraltar is largely down to shortfalls in equipment and resources following the transfer of the cleaning contract from Master Service to Britannia Management.

That was a key conclusion set out in a statement issued jointly by Britannia, the GGCA union and the Gibraltar Government in the wake of criticism in the media and on social media about the dirty state of some areas of Gibraltar.

The three parties met last week to discuss the criticism and what could be done to ensure streets were kept clean.

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 was 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," the three parties said in a joint statement issued through the government press office.

"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 Gibraltar Government is currently purchasing the required fleet and machinery, with water pressure machines, sweepers and vehicles to be made available to staff as soon as possible.

Interim measures including temporary hire of equipment are 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.

But the three parties also made an appeal to the community to pitch in and help to keep Gibraltar clean.

"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," the statement said.

"It was therefore agreed to hold focused meetings 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."