STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
DURING THE SEVENTH SITTING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FOURTH
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON THURSDAY 17TH OCTOBER, 2019
AT THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
ROAD TOWN, TORTOLA
Waste Management Strategy and Incinerator Repairs
Mister Speaker, not unlike the civil societies throughout the world, the current limitations of the Territory’s waste collection and disposal systems pose a serious constraint to the sustainable development of the Virgin Islands. These challenges were exacerbated by the widespread destruction caused by the 2017 hurricanes that ravaged the Territory. You would know that on three (3) occasions, I’ve made various updates. This Government recognizes the ever more critical role that environmentally sound waste management practices play in the protection of human health, the natural environment and our tourism industry. For these reasons the Ministry of Health and Social Development has placed significant emphasis on revisiting the Territory’s comprehensive waste management strategy with the aim of achieving sustainable, integrated solid waste management in the Virgin Islands. A draft Strategy has been prepared based on local research and global ‘best practices’ with the support of international consulting firm, Agency RED, and will shortly be disseminated for public feedback on its main proposals.
Mister Speaker, from a waste collection standpoint the new strategy and supporting legal instruments will create a framework that would allow for the proper separation of the different types of waste. Commercial entities such as supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, construction sites and other waste generating establishments will be required and trained to separate their generated waste by type and safely transport it to the final disposal sites.
The longstanding issue of bulk waste will be addressed by incorporating authorized drop off points where residents will be required to deposit their bulky items and where possible arrange for special collection by the Department of Waste Management for a fee. This will ultimately eliminate the unsightly conditions around the communal bins.
Mister Speaker, particular emphasis will be placed on waste reduction, together with the expansion of alternative waste disposal methods such as recycling and reuse of several waste types which will significantly lessen the Territory’s dependence on waste incineration and landfilling.
Mister Speaker, my Ministry looks forward to engaging with the entire community regarding the details of the draft Waste Management Strategy as well as the policy proposals for the introduction of a Waste Management Act that would support the effective implementation of the Strategy.
And there will be a supplement to the note which will basically state, that it is our intention that the garbage collection process of which has been amended several times, still need to be relooked; it is being relooked and must take into account all of what has been commissioned and stated in this new strategy. So we will incorporate those in the new contracts that must be issued in order for us to move this forward.
Repairs to the Incinerator
Mister Speaker, works related to the incinerator repairs are currently in progress.
We had a fire in November; we had to place the order for a control panel. On this note we made specific trips to the plant and while we were in Washington DC, we were able to have conversations with the owner of the company (Consutech System, LLC ) who was later able to send correspondence*.
Personnel will be dispatched before the final payment for the control panel is sent to make sure that we will see and have it tested so that we can then have this work finished and bring relief in some regards to the people of the entire Virgin Islands because at the end of the day Mister. Speaker, we must move towards having the incinerator fixed and repaired.
Mister Speaker this has been a vexing and complex situation that has understandably sparked health and environmental concerns, particularly among the residents of surrounding communities. While additional human and financial resources have been deployed to reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion at the Pockwood Pond dumpsite and relieve the effects of smoke for residents since the incinerator was damaged, this Government will not rest until the fundamental issues affecting the operation of the Incinerator Plant, and the unsustainable waste management practices that contribute to those problems, are addressed at the source. Thank you Mister Speaker. [see appendix A*]