'Aisea Taumoepeau. Photo/Ombudsman Office

Tonga’s garbage collection service must protect its workers better and buy proper garbage trucks, the Ombudsman has recommended.

Following an investigation into safety concerns , Ombudsman ‘Aisea Taumopeau said Waste Authority Ltd should buy proper compactor trucks and equipment tailor-made for waste collection suitable for Tonga’s environment.

WAL should also provide its garbage collectors with proper protective gear suitable for Tonga’s weather and make sure it was used.

The CEO of WAL should report back to the Ombudsman by the end of January.

The Ombudsman  said he launched the investigation into the health and safety of WAL workers after seeing WAL workers collecting rubbish with limited protective gear and riding on top of open rubbish trucks.

Taumopeau asked WAL to provide information on its waste collection processes, equipment used and any financial issues and  information on safety policies.

The investigation found most WAL workers worked six days a week for a total of 60 hours.

The Ombudsman said WAL could not afford to buy proper equipment.

He said the Authority should review its monthly fees which had not been changed since 2008.

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