BVI News

Gov’t to distribute carbon filter masks to WE residents, begin air quality monitoring

Since smoke from the Pockwood Pond waste facility on Tortola is still a major menace to persons living in West End, Health Minister Carvin Malone said government intends to purchase and distribute carbon filter masks to affected residents.

Malone explained that the smoke is from spontaneous fires that happen when the waste dumped to the back of the Pockwood Pond facility combusts.

But, the minister said government will now be engaging additional personnel to coordinate landfill operations to ensure ‘efficient waste disposal’ that will reduce the occurrence of these combustions.

He said other immediate solutions from the government include finalising and issuing a contract for the restoration of the facility’s incinerator that was damaged in a freak accident late last year.

Malone said authorities will further institute advanced monitoring of air quality in chronically affected areas. He said this type of monitoring is to inform residents of “different levels of alertness”.

Considerable spending from residents

However, some residents have already begun making considerable spends to combat the problem themselves.

Susanna Henighan Potter — a mother of a five-month-old infant living in the area — has already spent more than $1,000 on air purifiers and other items to protect herself and her family from the unending smouldering.

“We have purchased two air purifiers for inside the house that is constantly running to keep the inside of the house safe. And we recently purchased a Purple Air quality sensor for outside that tells us the level of pollution. So, we do not have to rely on our noses to know if it is safe or not to be outside; particularly with the baby,” Potter said.

She said the two air purifiers amounted to $1,000 while the sensor was another few hundred dollars.

“We are doing what we can to stay safe and to keep our [infant] daughter safe. But it’s really scary not knowing what’s in the smoke and it’s something that we worry about. We are talking about a fire that burns tires and appliances and all sorts of other things. We don’t know what kind of impact it could have on our daughter down the road,” she explained.

My health affected too

Potter said the smoke has already started to affect her health as well.

“Occasionally, I will feel that I have a sore throat, I will be coughing, and it is not because I have a cold. I have never had any respiratory issues in the past … It (the smoke) does affect me because you can’t avoid it entirely, as sometimes you have to be outside,” she said.

“Whenever there is any smoke outside, we go inside and make sure all the doors and windows are closed, so it’s hot. It is very depressing and frustrating not to be able to be outside to enjoy the air and to be able to breathe in clean air and to be able to take the dogs for a walk and to be able to sit out on your porch and enjoy the view,” Potter further told our news centre.

I’m not bashing the gov’t

And while making it clear that she was not bashing government, the West End resident further said she accepts that the issue is no ‘quick fix’.

“I think the government would fix it in a blink if it were an easy problem to fix. It is a hard problem to fix, and I recognize that and a lot of people have been making efforts,” she said.

When BVI News visited the location recently, one trucking company was seen on site trying to pump water on to the mountain of garbage that had been dumped and set ablaze there.

ALSO READ: Residents distressed, Noxious incinerator breeds health issues

Before becoming Premier, Representative of the West End constituents Andrew Fahie had proposed last September that authorities implement a ‘consultation group’ to facilitate communication between government and residents who have grown increasingly concerned about the health hazards being bred by a public incinerator at Pockwood Pond.

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  1. Wow says:

    Welcome to Africa
    Why not fixing instead????

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
    • Masks says:

      Masks!!! Lmfao. Are you people serious. Your supposed to wear a mask 24/7. I think the people should bring the government before the U.N. You all have mega balls to spend money on bullshit and not get this fixed. $200k for a music room. How about $200k to keep people from dying. It amazes me how stupid you all are. BVI STRONG? Nah…BVI WEAK AND STUPID

      Like 25
    • Sam I Am says:

      Focus on solving the problem. The problem
      Isn’t a lack of gas masks. The problem is Orlando’s fire.

      Like 10
  2. Hmm says:

    I’m confuse wasn’t a contract issued already to buy a switch and so forth??

    • School Children Say... says:

      Maybe a contract was issued for a switch, but the place where the switch was supposed to go burned. Now they have to fix the burned out place before a switch can go in.

  3. L says:

    Don’t forget Little Apple Bay and Carrot Bay.

    Like 11
  4. hog city says:

    what about we down here in pockwood pond???

    • School Children Say... says:

      Pockwood Pond is a joke. To quote Trump “that’s a shithole place”. Everybody already made a mess out of that place. Nobody worrying bout dat.

  5. vip heckler says:

    Foy will now have his people wearing gas masks like the people in china

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  6. Truth says:

    The fact of the matter is a simple switch or panel will NOT fix the situation! Having one working incinerator to burn all that garbage will result in the same issues and what happens when the system is down for maintenance? Same s**t. This Government has no plan and none of them care about the people. If this was affecting certain other people it would have been addressed a long time ago. I hope the people of St John file a large lawsuit against the Government for their negligence.

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
    • see says:

      agree 100 % This is not a new problem

    • Concerned resident says:

      Imagine having to pay NHI and exposed to this mess on a daily basis. You can taste the chemical compounds at times. The smoke is smothering a community. Imagine the stress that we must undergo daily having to breathe in this mess. As a community, we should not be made to pay in a cent into NHI. BOTTOM LINE!!!! This is mental and psychological stress. Toooo much for us.

    • St. John says:

      Thinking about it. We don’t want to end up like Flint Michigan where everyone was poison or is sick from the Government screw up with the drinking water.

  7. LMAO says:

    So we are here welcoming tourists and our breaking news is about government providing masks for residents as a result of open burning at the trash site. What about the open smoke coming from the asphalt plant in the same area? Nothing about that? I’m sure that is just as bad or probably worst than the garbage smoke. Seems like we get f**ked all around.

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
  8. Bystander says:

    We should distribute the masks at the cruise ship dock with a warning to wear them if you go to West End. This can be done as the passengers come off the ship. This would be a precaution against the BVI Govt getting sued in a class action for poisoning Americans.

    Like 14
  9. Really? says:

    So you want me to walk around my house with a mask on?? HURRY UP AND FIX THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  10. WEST END says:

    West End residents need a discount on our electricity bill for having to buy air purifiers and keeping air conditioners and fans running because we can’t open our windows and doors.

    Like 14
  11. Time says:

    It’s time for a lawsuit against the government for this nonsense and exposing us to long term health problems and cancer. All residents and tourists who have had to breathe the air since Irma should join together. They should be held accountable. Look what happen to Flint Michigan. This is just as bad and many do not understand the health consequences. It’s time for world media to get involved to finally get something done about this.

    Like 13
    • Class action says:

      Honestly, the people in the West need to file a class action lawsuit against the Government. Gas masks is not the solution or going to help the sautation.

  12. Not2Sure says:

    Please tell me this is a joke. The government is open burning all manner of toxic crap, and now they want to buy residents gas masks? They are expecting people to walk around in gas masks all day long?

    Like 11
    • @Not2Sure says:

      and don’t forget sleep in gas masks too cause people don’t stop breathing at night.

    • jas says:

      I was thinking the same scenario….it has to be a joke… this going to stop the damage already done too our health….we will certainly stand out and could become an attraction….why not just put the fire out or is it way to complicated

  13. Wtf says:

    The first thing that comes up when you search ‘how to stop the landfill fire’ is DO NOT TRY TO PUT FIRE OUT WITH WATER. All that poison from the burning plastic will get in the sea and poison our drinking water and fish that we eat. Why the heck they can’t just research before doing stupid shite. So they’re not only chocking us, they’re also poisoning water and food as well.
    Gas masks my ass, are we expected to sleep in those too? What about babies how are they supposed to wear a freaking gas mask?

  14. Eu citizen says:

    These are not spontaneous fires. They are set on purpose. I’d like to know if they burn all the trash the cruise ships unload when they dock. If so the cruise ships are really bad business for the BVI.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  15. Alkebulan Minds Recycling Inc says:

    Incinerator can’t be the solution, there are more ways to assist that problem.
    Let us all turn to Recycling

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  16. Irish Tourist says:

    This is a great idea for a new form of tourism. We can compete with Chernobyl and Fukushima For environmental tourism. I think everyone arriving in the territory should be handed a hazmat suit to go along with their carbon filter mask then driven in an open air bus to Westend To experience BVI Strong Odour. Think of all the free publicity this will make the news internationally raising the profile of the territory.

  17. Class action says:

    Honestly, the people in the West need to file a class action lawsuit against the Government. Gas masks is not the solution or going to help the sautation.

  18. Question says:

    Has any expertise been used to establish these land fills? Have any liners ever been used? What is being used to address the inevitable leaching? That whole area is toxic!!

  19. Managing director says:

    I support recycling as a correction. I promote recycling it creates jobs. I adore recycling it decreases cancerous emissions. I hate the burning of recyclable materials it decreases the future of our children, why should children sleep in such an environment? Can a mask decrease what is being burned? 12844425326, can some1 who cares for the future of the children in (WE) why wont they speak of the surrounding villages that are equally and more dire affected (pockwood pond).we need the help of people that care to assist us in decreasing incineration and the health of the men,women and children suffering daily. Lets not NOT usurp the word recycling!

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  20. Minister Malone says:

    made no mention in his update of the scrubber for the incinerator which has supposedly already been paid for.. or did it N.D.P vanish along with the airline??
    We are living the legacy of lazy Skelturn and the N.D.P govt 8 years of inaction and incompetence..
    I mean where else on the planet does an incinerator incinerate itself.???

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