Local non-profit organization, Green VI has advanced a list of ‘strong recommendations’ to the Disaster Recovery Coordination Committee to end open burning in the British Virgin Islands.
Among those recommendations is a call for government to send hazardous waste off-island for safe processing, and implement policies that deter open burning.
Green VI also called for government to create and enforce policies that force persons who are contracted to handle the territory’s waste to adhere to global standards for processing waste.
The organization further recommended that these contracted waste workers recycle discarded materials such as metals, glass, plastics, and fibreglass.
“Be open and transparent with the public, partner with local recycling efforts, and generate local jobs and products,” added Green VI in a media release.
Sister Islands burn regularly
The organization has put out the recommendations because of what it said is a regular occurrence of burning on the islands of Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke.
The practice of open burning has increased in the BVI in light of the large volume of waste material dumped across the territory because of the hurricanes.
Green VI said the challenge of having these materials in the territory is an opportunity to “transform this wreckage into resources; thereby enriching lives and livelihoods and protecting our health”.
“It begins with putting out the fires,” Green VI said.
The organization noted that burning synthetic waste products releases carcinogenictoxins that cause damage to the respiratory, immune, and reproductive systems.
“Even some vegetation, such as Manchineel wood, releases serious poisons. Burning also destroys valuable resources. These are resources that could be recovered and re-purposed to create jobs and local products and also mitigate climate change,” Green VI said.
“Burning is both an environmental and economic mistake with widespread and lasting consequences,” it added.
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