EL PASO, Texas -- As the pandemic ensues, essential service workers continue serving the Borderland. Garbage collection, in particular, is one area that never stopped once things started shutting down.
"It is overwhelming with everything going on," said Tim Gonzales, who is a solid waste truck driver with the City of El Paso's Environmental Services Department.
"It's several feelings and emotions. Being scared and unsure, I don't think I could give you one word to describe it right now," he told an ABC-7 crew that rode along on his route to get a better idea of what his day-to-day job entailed.
His day begins at 4:30 in the morning. "It's usually a 10-hour day, sometimes a little longer with what is going on," he said. "We are running a little longer, the trash and the volume of trash and recycling is heavier because a lot more people are staying home."
Gonzales said they service between 800 to 1,000 bins a day per truck and there are 86 routes.
However, the stress of the job and pandemic is taking a toll on him and his colleagues.
"It weighs on my mind and it weighs on the other drivers' minds knowing that we are at risk out there and not only that," he explained, "as we go home, whatever we have been exposed to, we may take it home with us and it does weigh heavy on us being out there."
But, Gonzales is a garbage bin half-full kind of guy: "What is getting me through this pandemic, is that their is a light at the end of the tunnel and that this is all going to be over and that everything is going to get back to normal."
His message for those who may be ready to throw something out?
"We want them to know that even through this time, while everyone is staying at home and sheltering in place, we are out there and we haven't stopped since this pandemic started," he said.