A three-stage strategy has been announced by the Department of Waste Management to tackle waste in the Virgin Islands.
Acting Manager Mr. Neville Allen said at a recent District One community meeting that the department will seek to implement the action plan which has a short-term, mid-term and a long-term plans for tackling the Territory’s waste disposal problems.
Mr. Allen said for the short-term solution, the department will seek to bury all incoming waste at the incinerator daily, covering the waste with a minimum of six inches of compacted soil to help minimise the risk of spontaneous fires.
"We will increase site security by installing security cameras at the entrance of the facility to help prevent unauthorised access to the dump site. This will help eliminate the problem of fires being caused by unauthorised persons who gain access to the site to obtain copper and other precious metals,” the Acting Manager explained.
In addition, Mr. Allen said the department will employ security personnel to monitor the site between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. daily. He further added that an increase in waste separating and recycling efforts through education and installation of recyclable drop-off areas, is high on the short-term agenda, to reduce waste going to the dumpsite.
In relation to the medium-term plans, Mr. Allen disclosed that full repairs will be conducted to the existing incinerator including procuring and installing a new control panel which was destroyed in a fire in February 2022, an ash conveyor, rams and exhaust fans which are all required to make the system functional. These items, according to Mr. Allen, have been ordered and are expected to be shipped in the coming months.
“We will hire a contracting company to complete the repairs to the roof of the building and make the necessary electrical connections for the new control panel. Works are expected to be completed within the next 8-12 months” Mr. Allen added.
The final stage of the plan is to implement a ban on single-use plastic containers and incorporate a refund system on glass and aluminium containers. Mr. Allen explained that the initiative is to extract recyclable materials from the waste stream and litter throughout the Virgin Islands
. Drafting instructions are currently being prepared and are expected to be completed by the end of July.
The community meeting was joined by Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley, Assistant Manager Mr. Anselm Myers and members of Green VI.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development through the Department of Waste Management is committed to transforming and implementing innovative ideas and strategies to manage waste in the Virgin Islands