Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
New protocols implemented by the Department of Waste Management continues to result in early notifications, which led to swift action to extinguish an early morning blaze at the Pockwood Pond Dumpsite.
At around 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 9, the Department of Waste Management was notified of a fire at the Pockwood Pond Dumpsite on Tortola. The Fire and Rescue Service were immediately notified and worked to extinguish the blaze started.
Director of Waste Management Mr. Marcus Solomon reported that the dumpsite tipping area caught fire, and the fire quickly extended to the BVI Electricity Plant, which is located in close proximity to the fire.
“The fire was likley caused by older garbage heat which came into contact with combustibles. The combustion of the materials could be heard on the site and spread to the entire garbage load, which fueled the quick acceleration of the fire,” Mr. Solomon stated.
The Director further explained that because the incinerator is currently inoperable, we are having issues with processing the waste in a timely manner, which is contributing to garbage staying in the tipping area longer than desirable. We are working on waste management strategies to improve the way we process our waste, but we still need assistance from the community to help avert future occurences".
According to the Director, while his Department is working on much needed equipment, improvement to the current infrasturcture at the dumpiste, as well as the training and monitoring of contractors, he also needs the public to play their part.
“We are pleading with the community to reduce, repurpose, and reuse to assist with decreasing waste generation. We also want them to stop putting hazardous and flamable materials into the waste stream,” Mr. Solomon said.
As officials continue to work on extingusihing the flames, the public is advised to take the necessary health precautions and avoid the smoke where possible.
The public should also be aware that until further notice the Pockwood Pond dumpsite will not be accepting any garbage. Only persons with the ability to reach to the top of the hill will be allowed to access the site.
The Department continues to work on best practice strategies to manage waste throughout the Territory. Subsequent updates will be provided where necessary.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health and well-being of the people of the Virgin Islands.