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BVI Cancer Society joins struggle against open burning @ Pockwood Pond

BVI Cancer Society joins struggle against open burning @ Pockwood Pond

Noting that individuals are fearing for their health, the BVI Cancer Society has joined the struggle to pressure the government to fix the issues of garbage and landfill fires at Pockwood Pond.

This comes after a handful of First District residents protested outside the House of Assembly while it was in session in Road Town yesterday, April 17, 2023.

“We, the BVI Cancer Society, are deeply saddened and distressed by the ongoing open burning situation that continues to affect our beloved residents in the Third District, and across the

entire Western End of Tortola. Our hearts are heavy with the knowledge that our fellow citizens are breathing in toxic fumes, and we cannot ignore the potential impact this may have on their health and well-being,” the Society stated in a press release late Monday, April 17, 2023.

A landfill fire at Pockwood Pond last night, April 17, 2023.

‘We cannot stand idly by while our people suffer’- BVI Cancer Society

It said it has received numerous calls from concerned residents, who fear for themselves and their families.

“They worry about the correlation between the harmful smoke and what appears to be a rising number of cancer cases in the area. As an advocate for health issues in the Territory, we cannot stand idly by while our people suffer.”

The BVI Cancer Society said it is resolute in its stance that this is a Territorial health concern and has implored the current and future governments to take this situation seriously and act swiftly to alleviate the distress of fellow citizens.

“We cannot ignore the very real consequences of this issue, as it impacts not only the health of our residents, but also the environmental health of our beautiful islands.”

Heartbreaking reports

The BVI Cancer Society also said during the past weekend it received heartbreaking reports of individuals struggling to breathe and feeling trapped by the relentless smoke in their homes.

“This is a clear indication that the situation has reached a critical level, and the time for change is now.

The BVI Cancer Society pledges to continue monitoring this issue and to keep it at the forefront of public awareness until tangible actions are taken to resolve it. The entire Territory deserves to live in a safe and healthy environment, and as an advocacy organisation the BVI Cancer Society is lending its voice by calling on the incoming government to commit to placing this health-compromising issue as a priority.”

The Society is calling on the government, community leaders, and citizens to join it in demanding an explanation as to why the incinerator remains in its current state.

Landfill fires are seen almost daily at Pockwood Pond.

Hon Penn apologises

Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) yesterday apologised to the people of the First District affected by the opening burning and promised to resolve the issues promptly.

The Health Minister also said the Government on Friday sent a cheque to get a control panel for the incinerator, which has been down since February 2021, due to a fire.

The Minister could not give a timeline as to when the issues of open burning would be resolved.

Landfill fires are seen almost daily at Pockwood Pond.


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