Greater Amman Municipality uses EBRD- and DFID-funded vehicles to fight coronavirus

By Dima Hamdallah

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Sanitising the city, one street at a time

What was once a road sweeper used to clean the streets of Amman, Jordan, is now a sanitising vehicle helping to keep the city, 1,680 square kilometres in area and with over 2 million inhabitants, safer from the coronavirus.

The equipment used for sanitisation and waste management throughout the spread of Covid-19 was part of a fleet of vehicles financed in 2018 with a loan of JOD 9.9 million accompanied by a grant of GBP 5.63 million (JOD 4.9 million) from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and US$ 7.4 million (JOD 5.2 million) from the EBRD for purchases including 75 refuse collection vehicles for use in landfill and solid waste operations in the city.

Following the spread of the virus to Jordan, the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) had to sanitise the city urgently, including its solid waste, from pick-up to drop-off at the transfer station. Their job did not end there, as they also assisted in sanitising many of the buildings and areas where virus-infected individuals resided.

GAM was the first governmental institution to take action after the spread of the virus, dedicating the majority of its staff to help execute these preventive measures. The municipality harnessed what was immediately available to clean up the city and keep its people safe.

Engineer Hussam Najdawi, Deputy City Manager of Environmental and District Affairs at GAM, said: “We had to improvise, taking sweepers and other vehicles that we normally use to manage solid waste and equipping them with disinfectants to help us in sanitising the streets rather than just sweeping them!”

Since March this year, when the government announced a lockdown in Jordan, GAM has worked to prevent contamination within the city streets. To keep their workers safe from the virus, the number of workers in the field that handles waste and sanitising operations was cut from 5,000 to 3,000. However, all GAM’s employees will be working shifts to assist others in the field if need be.

The GAM implemented a new strategy to collect solid waste by designating specific timings for people to take out their rubbish for collection. This new schedule streamlined the workers’ jobs, and as there is no traffic in the streets due to the lockdown, the waste is collected quicker. The closing of shops and restaurants as part of the lockdown also means around a third less waste was produced.

With the proven effectiveness of this new schedule, GAM is considering retaining it even after the pandemic is over, as this new shift in timing imposes fewer health hazards on the workers who deal with waste on a daily basis.

GAM has designated special teams to specific areas where the virus has spread, equipping them with full protective gear so they can sanitise buildings and streets. Before these teams began their work, they took part in awareness sessions so that they can diligently follow the safety measures and understand the importance of wearing their gear while at work. These workers have a difficult task and bear huge responsibility, but they have a higher purpose motivating them to keep the city of Amman safe and clean during this crisis.

The EBRD in Jordan has been working in municipal infrastructure development with GAM since 2015, to date investing JOD 113 million (€144 million) in loans and catalysed donor support from the European Union, the United Kingdom, the TaiwanICDF and the EBRD’s Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Multi-Donor Account (AustraliaFinlandFranceGermanyItaly,the NetherlandsNorwaySpainSwedenTaipei China and the UK).

 

 

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