Apia's waste collection vehicles now being tracked

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 23 June 2022, 11:36PM

A partnership between a Government Ministry, a donor partner and a local firm has enabled local authorities to keep track of Apia’s waste management vehicles.

The partnership between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and local company SkyEye now enables officials to keep track of the activities of the city’s rubbish collection trucks.

SkyEye C.E.O. Fa’aso’otauloa Sam Saili told the Samoa Observer in a telephone interview on Thursday that the M.N.R.E was finding it hard to track contractors who are covering their designated rubbish collection areas.

He said public complaints compelled the Ministry to look for an effective monitoring system as physical checks were costly and time consuming.

“JICA was already funding some of the waste management programs so M.N.R.E was wanting to use technology to combat the problem," Fa'aso'otauloa said. 

"The review took a long time as there were very specific requirements, for example, if the truck did not make it to the end of a road, the Ministry had to verify it so the technology was to also help the contractors track their trucks.”

Fa'aso'otauloa said SkyEye offered vehicle tracking and the company developed their own technology with clients such as the M.N.R.E. only paying if the job was done – that is the rubbish collection truck going to the designated area and within the time they were scheduled. 

SkyEye thus provides the M.N.R.E a holistic view of their waste management contractors, he added. 

"We have our own updated and localised map of Samoa to indicate where the vehicles are going and whether they got there and at what time," he said. 

"Now M.N.R.E has a holistic view of all the contractors and each contractor can view their own, they can view one or all vehicles so contractors can do their own monitoring and view their own employees driving.”

Asked how he felt as the one providing the service, despite competition from overseas companies, Fa'aso'otauloa said he was glad they were contributing to Samoa’s development using their own technology and people.

"Very productive partnership with M.N.R.E and J.I.C.A because we were able to showcase our technology that we developed ourselves.

“It is another way we can contribute – keeping the funds locally to employ our own people, and develop technology locally. 

“Also helps the environment as we are told that before, there were about 100 complaints per month, but since the program started it has been reduced to 20.” 

The service offered by SkyEye is also offered in Savai’i, according to the Managing Director, who said usually technology does not reach the big island, but they are able to track vehicles around Savai’i.

Pauli Fetu Le'apai-Saili, a customer relations executive with the vehicle tracking department of SkyEYe, told this newspaper that the advantage of the system they developed is that all routes are covered. 

"We divide them into zones, we are working with four contractors now so their trucks go on daily routes,” she said. 

“Before there was no information as to where they were going but now we can track them, and so can their employers.”

On their partnership with the MNRE together with JICA, Pauli said it was the first time for them to be involved with a project that was triggered by numerous public complaints.

“It is the first time that the project required tracking systems because the complaints from the public have been out of control.

"So having GPS when SkyEye came in with the service to be used for reporting purposes improved on the rubbish collecting management. 

“The data that the system provides is vital for effective management.”

According to Pauli, this project illustrates how project donors, public sector and the private sector can work well together to improve service to Samoa.

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 23 June 2022, 11:36PM
Samoa Observer

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