The Problem

                                                           Thank you JTV for this interview on waste management in the BVI!

The problem of 'waste' on islands:

Islands have a limiting constraint of having little land available for landfill. This is especially true across the BVI - with its’ rolling terrain, making landfill engineering difficult and expensive in this topography.

The BVI has seen a three-fold increase in waste volumes over the last decade with waste within the territory being either dumped or incinerated. No recycling facilities are currently in place, however, plans are underway to develop a recycling system for the BVI. Three unlined dumpsites are currently in operation (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Anegada) with open burning a common practice. One transfer station exists on Jost van Dyke and open burning has ceased on this island.

In season, it is estimated that the Pockwood Pond incinerator can receive approximately 150 tons per day. The new incinerator has the capacity of 100 tons per day. With the installation of the new incinerator, emissions from open burning on Tortola have been reduced. This should improve further in 2015 when the new scrubber system is installed.

Roughly 12 percent of the waste stream is glass. According to previous studies, 3.8 million bottles were imported into Tortola in 1996, resulting in 1700 tons of glass received at the incinerator that year. Glass waste poses a unique problem in the incineration process in Tortola. Each year the incinerator is shut down for approximately twenty days, during which time, the Department of Waste Management staff enter the incinerator and manually chip off the glass that has melted onto the incinerator walls. During this “offline” period, incoming waste has to be stored, or burned, behind the incinerator - resulting in health hazards, such as flies, vermin and toxic emissions.

To improve the safety and health of waste department workers and all residents and visitors downwind of Pockwood Pond, it is strongly recommended that glass be removed entirely from the waste stream. If achieved, this will simultaneously reduce downtime and damage to the incinerators.

Humans are the only species to generate waste and it is through producing waste (in solid, liquid and gas forms) that we are polluting the systems we depend on for survival. If we redefine “waste” and view it instead as a resource, a whole new world of potential opens up.

Green VI's Mission video by JTV




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