A little more than two months have elapsed since the major fire at the waste facility in Pockwood Pond. But, the facility’s incinerator is still not functional because no repairs have been done to date.
The incinerator has not been repaired because of unavailability of funds.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Petrona Davies, told BVI News on Thursday that the ministry is in the processes of seeking approval from Cabinet for funds to be released for the repair project.
“We are trying to get it (funding) ahead of the budget because it’s urgent. So, I can’t really comment other than to say they’re major [repair] contracts so, obviously, Cabinet’s approval is required. [But] we are working with the Ministry of Finance to try to get that fast-tracked,” she said.
Based on technical assessments that have been carried out at the waste facility, Davies said the critical part to getting the incinerator operational is to get electrical repairs done and to replace a part of the incinerator known as the control panel box.
She also said however that the ministry must go through the required procurement procedures in light of the scope of the repairs to be done to the facility.
Waste still being landfilled
While the facility remains out of commission, the Department of Waste Management is using a landfill to dispose of the piles of waste, which would have otherwise been incinerated.
“We don’t do open burning on Tortola as part of our waste management, so it is basically landfilling – burying and covering [the garbage] which of course we want to reduce that as much as possible. So we are working to see how quickly we can get the incinerator back up to deal with that volume of waste,” she said.
She said the ministry is also working to divert as much waste coming to the waste facility by roughly 60 percent through recycling.
“We are working on several strategies at the same time to be able to reduce the pressure on Pockwood Pond,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary said the ministry has hired a consulting firm to assist them in refining the territory’s Waste Management strategy.
They are also looking at the potential options for a new landfill site.
“The department is working very hard to see how we can address the problem comprehensively going forward,” she said.
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