The door to door garbage pickup generated by the 24-hours curfew as a result of the efforts to repulse the Coronavirus may unexpectedly usher in a new era of waste management Territory-wide.
For years successive administrations have laid out plans to tackle the BVI’s waste disposal shortcomings. Among the plans were calls and strides along the path of recycling and other green efforts but nothing was fully embraced.
This, however, is about to change as residents trapped in their homes seem more willing to try or practice the various waste disposal methods that were encouraged over the years.
The situation is being encouraged by the roadside collection of waste that was rolled out to all communities from 5 April. The service required the residents who are not allowed to leave their yards to put out their household waste in sealed bags between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The participation in the programme has encouraged the Government to move forward with the new waste management efforts. This was mentioned during a live broadcast by Minister for Health Hon. Carvin Malone on 6 April.
Hon. Malone said, “During this period of curfew the Government has found no better time to implement or roll-out the 7Rs of our Waste Management Strategy: Reform; Restrict; Reduce; Recycle; Reuse; Return and Rethink. Details of our strategy will be disseminated and all stakeholders will be invited to participate and contribute to their areas of expertise.”
“In the meanwhile — clean plastic bottles, glass and aluminum cans should be stored at home and recycled after the curfew. I will announce a village competition for students and the households or maybe the village that collects the most recyclable items would be awarded laptop computers or other prizes to enhance their learning experience,” he added.
This was not the first time that the Minister has been pushing for recycling. This was especially noted in response to the Pockwood Pond dump fire. One of those instances was on 16 July 2019.
“There is no time like the present to fully and I mean fully initiate the principles of REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. The consultants are finalizing their findings and reports. A comprehensive report and a way forward would immediately follow. There now exist a number of agents, companies and individuals who on various measures have initiated the recycling measures and we acknowledge their efforts like times before,” Hon. Malone said.
Before that, it was announced that Hon. Malone had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Green V.I. to implement a recycling system across the Virgin Islands. It was noted that under the agreement signed with Vanessa King and Sarah Penny of Green V.I. on April 12, 2019 it was stated that recycling bins were going to be placed on Virgin Gorda, Tortola and the other sister islands. additionally, it was stated that two recycling trucks will be purchased for use on Virgin Gorda and Tortola, and supplementary funds will be made available to aid in a recycling strategy. Recycling data will also be given to Green V.I. to refine and implement innovative ways to increase the efficiency of the recycling process.