British Virgin Islands

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

Landfill fire likely to be extinguished by nightfall, says minister

Landfill fire likely to be extinguished by nightfall, says minister

Health Minister Carvin Malone said the fire which reportedly started at the waste facility in Pockwood Pond on Sunday could be extinguished by nightfall today, November 11.

Amid reports of an explosion that happened around the time the fire started, Malone told BVI News that the fire occurred spontaneously on the hillside where waste management authorities have been dumping Tortola’s waste for the last several months.

“It was not at the incinerator itself and whatever explosion they may have heard may have been a result of one of those illegally placed propane tanks that people from time to time will place there.”

The Health Minister said the issue is seen ‘from time to time’.

“People place discarded propane tanks in their garbage which they should not do, and we try to separate them.”


Major fire contained

In the meantime, Malone said the ‘solid blaze’ has been contained. What remains to be extinguished is what he described as “some leftover debris that had also caught [on fire]” on the hillside just above the waste facility.

“It is hoped that by this evening the smoke would dissipate,” the minister said.


Incinerator nearing completion

Authorities have been dumping the island’s waste on and along the hillside since an unrelated fire that rendered the Pockwood Pond incinerator non-functional back November 2018.

Malone said repairs to the incinerator is now ‘nearing completion’.

He said: “The control panel is finally being completed, and arrangements have been made to be shipped through Tropical. Once received we would install immediately and recommission the incinerator.”

“This would result in a reduction, if not an elimination of the need to bury untreated waste at the site in Pockwood Pond. So we are working around the clock on many fronts,” he added.

He also mentioned plans to look at the recycling and reuse programmes for the territory.

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