As the territory gets ready to improve its water testing capabilities, Minister of Natural Resources Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull is urging residents to refrain from polluting ponds which are vital natural features within the territory.
The territory has faced issues with ponds and beaches being contaminated by litter, effluence, sediments and other pollutants in the past, and in a few instances, have resulted in a discovery of high levels of bad bacteria in these bodies of water.
Minister Turnbull said people should remember that ponds connect to the sea and eventually carry the pollutants to those waters that the BVI uses for economic purposes.
“The filling of our ponds, I have said it — whether friends, family or foe — the filling of our ponds is something that needs to stop because God put them there for a specific reason. And if we continue to destroy and fill our ponds, fill them with litter then it flows over into our ocean. And if you don’t have a product to be able to market to the people; if we don’t preserve this product — from the ponds to the beaches… we have to ensure that we are doing all of that we need to do,” Turnbull stated.
$900K grant to improve water testing
He was speaking at a recent press conference held to announce that the government received approximately $933,189 from the European Union (EU) to improve the territory’s water quality testing capabilities.
The minister said the funds will also help his ministry to continue doing vital work to educate groups like students and businesses about the importance of protecting coastal waters which also provide potable water that residents use at home.
“Without your environment, without your natural resources, you cannot build a building … and you cannot have healthy and clean water,” said Turnbull.
He added that the grant will help the ministry to procure much-needed equipment to enhance the water quality monitoring programme. This equipment will include a new water vessel and other hardware and software needed to conduct water testing.
He said the grant has come at the perfect time as equipment is needed to monitor the waters, especially now that the COVID
-pandemic measures have been relaxed and people are moving freely.
“So we are now more positioned to do more testing in other areas that persons are frequenting, especially after being locked down for about 24 months. A lot of persons now are enjoying the ocean spaces, enjoying the beaches and we have to ensure as there are more populated areas, that the quality throughout the BVI remains first-class and that we don’t have a problem. And if there is a problem, the equipment that we have will be able to address it,” Turnbull explained.