THE municipal water and rubbish collection company, Emaya, subcontracted to Palma City Council, is to invest no less than 11 million euros over the next four years in an intensive “Keep the City Clean” campaign.

Company president Cristina Cerdó announced at the weekend that new state-of-the-art equipment and specialised vehicles are to be purchased and more staff contracted. She was speaking at a privately hosted event in Palma to which around a thousand employees and their families had been invited but to which the media was denied access. She claimed that the new surge in strategy to keep abreast of city cleaning had emerged after consulting with all 1'500 employees on a one-to-one basis to hear their views and note comments which were planned to form part of a mutually beneficial exchange. Key points in the four-year plan are the purchase of specialised cleaning equipment to eliminate graffiti and scale dirt off pavements. The current practice of wiping away graffiti only has limited success because people who are intent on defacing public (and private) property merely paint over the cleaned surfaces.High pressure hoses and new rubbish collection lorries are also on the agenda. A further seven districts of Palma will have their own team of street sweepers. Another new feature will be the setting up of a customer care telephone centre so that dealings with the public can be centralised through a single number.

Emaya confirmed that the ambitious plan, intended for presentation to the public earlier this week, will mean triple the funding for city cleaning than has as yet ever been allocated during any of the terms of office of the City Council. The move is also something of a pioneering one in so much as the restructuring of the operations of the company will incorporate the skill and experience of many veteran workers.

Cerdó claimed the initiative will “galvanize the employment market” with Emaya taking on significant numbers of new staff. She added pointedly, that the investment of such a large and unprecedented amount of money will be worth nothing if the plan doesn't have the support of the workforce and the goodwill of the individuals who are going to bring the “Keep City Clean” campaign to the streets of Palma. Cerdó recognised the fact that the new strategy is about seven months late in its presentation but, she claimed, this period of delay was necessary in order to have individual consultation with current staff members.