It was announced at the Inter-Virgin Islands Council Meeting that was held on 8 May that the open burning at the Pockwood Pond solid waste plant that had caused great concern in the the United States Virgin Islands has been put to rest.
The USVI Government House blog stated: “Since its commissioning, no open burning has taken place at the dumpsite and as a result, DPNR has not received complaints primarily from Coral Bay, St. John residents previously affected by the smoke from the dumpsite burning.”
“I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Premier Dr. Smith and the BVI delegation to discuss these issues of great importance to both territories. Today’s meeting follows on previous meetings of the council held in 2012 and 2011 in which many of these same issues were discussed,” de Jongh said today. “These are core issues that affect the well-being of the people of both territories and I am pleased that through the council, we have developed a collaborative effort in addressing these various concerns ranging from law enforcement to solid waste management and the very important challenge of energy costs,” he added.
An update of the burning situation was presented at the meeting and it was noted that since the commissioning of the solid waste incinerator at Pockwood there has been no open burning at the dumpsite and as a result the complaints about the issues primarily from Coral Bay, St. John residents who were previously affected by the smoke from the dumpsite burning has ceased.
After complaints and reports from concerned Coral Bay residents Governor de Jongh in a 10 March 2011 issued released announced that he had urged the Environmental Protection Agency officials at the U.S. State Department to formally ask the government of the British Virgin Islands to “stop polluting the air of St. John by burning trash in the open on neighboring Tortola.”
The release announced that the U.S. State Department requested from United Kingdom and BVI officials that they immediately cease the practice of open rubbish burning at the Pockwood Pond incineration facility, and that they give full priority to a new facility that will responsibly handle the island’s waste disposal.
“Our friends in the British Virgin Islands must responsibly process their waste. It is unfair for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands, specifically residents of St. John, to have their air quality diminished by the actions of a neighboring country,” Governor de Jongh was quoted as saying.
“As a good neighbor, the government of the British Virgin Islands has an obligation not to jeopardize the health of residents of St. John, as well as their own people,” he further added.