The control panel for the incinerator plant at Pockwood Pond is up and running and Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Carvin Malone said that the dump fires situation that plagued residents on the western end of Tortola for an extended period is about to come to an end. In the meanwhile the Minister said that plans are being made to ensure that the dumping situation that overwhelms waste disposal efforts is being handled. One suggested way of handling the situation was fining persons who callously dump and litter.
The Minister while speaking at a public meeting held in the Third District on 3 February addressed concerns about the incinerator by announcing that the control panel is in place. Hon. Malone told the gathering, “The much talked about control panel has arrived, it has been installed. Consutech the equipment manufacturer has sent someone here for the last two to three weeks. It has been tested, it is running.”
In explaining what some of the setbacks at the Incinerator were the Minister said, “There are some mechanical issues because this heat that came out of the fire affected other areas. There were some water leaks from some pipes or some hose that needed to be replaced. Since last Friday the control panel has been going through tests. It was activated last Friday (31 January). It is in better stead today (3 February) and they said that they will be able to run on a 24 hour shift come Saturday (8 February) with the intent to start running 24 hours. There are some simple mechanical issues. Thank God not major but we then have this coming.”
The fires at the Pockwood Pond dump have been a respiratory nuisance that residents continue to complain about on social media. The situation was so bad last year that masks had to be worn in certain areas.
While speaking on the situation the Minister explained that some of the fires were caused by combustion at the dump. “This untreated garbage consist of empty or damaged propane tank and garbage itself has its own gases producing spontaneous combustion…”
The Minister further mentioned that Agency Red, a consulting company is working with government to put in place a comprehensive waste management programme that includes recycling to manage the garbage disposal situation.
Towards this end the Minister mentioned that legislative changes would be needed to get the waste disposal matter under control; as he explained that presently some people are being willful with their dumping which is causing various issues.
“We are going to reform our laws so that we can give it teeth in terms of ill stuff. I am passing down and I am seeing a 23 cubit ft refrigerator sitting on the side of the bin, now they could have gone down to the dump with that, they had to have some effort to take that out the truck and put it down next to the bin. Why not go and take it to its proper location? There will be constant fines until performance improves,” Hon. Malone stated.