BVI News

Stop it! Backyard burning a potential gateway for COVID-19

Kye Rymer

Stating that backyard burning could potentially become a gateway for the coronavirus, minister responsible for the Virgin Islands Fire & Rescue Department, Kye Rymer, has renewed calls for residents to end the practice.

Rymer made that public appeal following reports by Chief Fire Officer Zebalon McClean that there has been a drastic increase of backyard burning since the ongoing curfew was implemented.

He said: “Persons most at risk for contracting COVID-19 are those with underlying conditions such as the chronic respiratory disease, asthma. So, people of the Virgin Islands, I am calling on you to please refrain from backyard burning due to the health impact on the people in the community”.

Rymer made that statement in a public address last Friday, April 10.

People still burning in their backyards

The minister’s appeal came days after Premier Andrew Fahie made a similar call to residents.

Fahie said: “People are still burning some garbage in the back of their yard and that does not need to be … We are asking you to stop it immediately because the garbage collection programme is going on house-to-house and we are asking persons to stop burning the garbage in your backyard.”

Take garbage out in the morning

Meanwhile, Health Minister Carvin Malone urged residents to utilise the garbage collection programme to get rid of their waste items.

He also recommended that residents take out their trash on the morning of the scheduled collection dates to avoid any animal interference.

“Don’t take it out the night before. Wake up in the morning and take it out between 6 and 7 so that you don’t have stray animals spreading it all over the place,” Minister Malone stated.

During the curfew period, which is scheduled to end on Sunday, April 19, the Department of Waste Management will be collecting residential waste on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 am.

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  1. real peoplo says:

    HON. KYE RHYMER have u not spoken to HON. CARVIN MALONE about his backyard burning situation at his incinerator that has no F%$^&%G “SCRUBBER SYSTEM”??????? u all poisoning the people on a waaay bigger scale!

    Like 35
  2. Plain and simple says:

    Get strict and arrest them or drop a heavy fine on them. No exceptions. Show them that you mean business, that is the only way some of these hardheaded people is going to get it. Just say one of those fires get out of control and spread over to a neighbors property. I have been stressing to my neighbor to please don’t burn his garbage and he just ignores me, my husband said he is going to punch him dead in his face if this continues.

    Like 9
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  3. Sick and tired says:

    Of the ones that feel that they are not willing to obey the rules
    and do as they please, typical attitude of most people in the BVI. Don’t be surprised if you see one of the backyard burners running down the street on fire screaming for help like the late Richard Pryor. Don’t run when you are on fire. STOP, DROP and ROLL.

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  4. Real says:

    Since when fire can help create an gateway for a virus
    Tell the people the truth shame on all u puppets we call leaders

    Like 22
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    • You clearly can’t read. says:

      When you have astma the virus will hurt you harder.

      Burning causes astma.

      So by burning the Covid will be worse.

      You understand now?

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    • Makes No Sense Tall! says:

      I’m sorry Hon Kye, enquiring minds want to know the source of the information you have disclosed: “Backyard burning can help create gateway for a Covid-19”. All the Garbage burning at Pockwood during the past 100+ years and more with no reported Virus conditions on Tola or Virgin Gorda (where the garbage Dump is exactly in the middle of the two communities of North Sound and Spanish Town. What we have been having are cancer cases, prostrate cases and people dying at younger ages than say 40-50 years ago. We are talking about the burning of Marine (fiberglass, resins, paints, acids, used tyers, industrial and commercial waste); all kinds of poisonous materials. Even waste from septic tanks is taken to the dump. Now with only a ten minute drive between either of the two communities on Virgin Gorda and the Dump, what difference does it make if I burn some dried brush in my backyard, and Solid Waste burns vehicle tyres, fiberglass, various commercial and industry waste ten minutes away?. Same thing on Tola. In Trumpland that statement would be referred to as a “Hood-wink”

      • True dat says:

        My brothers and sisters practice idiotic unsafe living all the time in bvi. No safety goggles, masks, burn all this chem crap. Bad diets, ignore illnesses until chronic. Etc etc. y’all paying your neighbor health with NHI. Tighten up. Ain’t 1930’s. Sense. Make it common

  5. Scientist says:

    I got no problem with asking people not to burn garbage at home. Besides fire risk, smoke can aggravate asthma attacks, cause eye and respiratory irritation, emit toxic substances so forth but I do not see how burning garbage is a gateway to COVID-19, unless people are hanging around the fire together. The virus is not fireproof.

  6. Eagle eye says:

    People it’s clear to see what these cellouts are trying to do.when y’all see them let them know we are a viser generation and is ahead of the politics games.

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  7. Retired says:

    Seems like the folks in my area are just burning dead plants, wood, etc. NOT garbage, plastics, etc. Maybe the DWM can organize some trucks to pick up the dead plants, wood, etc. so people will stop burning them on their land.

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    • Future says:

      Burning deadwood and plants is to assist with getting rid of mosquitoes. We are going into the dry season. With no smoke trucks, we may have other problems soon. This would be the time for people to clean up their yards and get rid of dead water that births mosquitoes but is everyone doing this.

  8. hmmm says:

    I’m 100 percent compliant although I still cant correlate the burning garbage to spreading the virus…having a slow moment there I’ll admit…can someone assist with an explanation….closest guess I can muster is you may potentially flare up someone’s respiratory illness making them more susceptible to contracting the virus…which doesn’t seem an issue where the virus isn’t present as yet?

  9. NB says:

    Please Sir, Mr. Rhymer, considering we all have the basic knowledge of how the virus is transmitted, kindly provide a logical explanation as to how backyard burning will create a gateway for COVID-19. I want to know because if I see my neighbor standing alone burning his trash, apart from the other natural hazards cause by said activity I want to stop/report him on the grounds of spreading the virus.

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    • true says:

      I also thought this but he goes on to link the chronic respiratory disease, asthma.

      Thats is what he is trying to say not that it spreads the virus.

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  10. Anon says:

    On March 9, 1918 a huge dust storm rolled across the plains in Kansas. According to historical accounts this dust combined with the burning of hundreds of tons of manure, kicked up a stinging, stinking yellow haze which blotted out the sun that day. On the 11th by noon more than 100 men reported to the infirmary, 3 weeks later it was in europe. Subsequently more than 50 million died.

    Was the cause from burning? No one knows for sure, but look at the factors and make the most cautious and best judgement as possible.

    STOP STOP STOP THE BURNING especially Pockwood Pond where all the possible infectious discards are dumped.

    Asking the people not to burn I agree with!
    This Governments bad practice of burning I do not.

    Goose and Gander in same pot now, so All need to extinguish the flames before we all COOKED!

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  11. true says:

    And Minister said he doesn’t have an update on the scrubber. Understandable with the Covid crisis, but do we have to have recycling in place before the burning a Pockwood can stop? People WEST have been dealing with MUCH heavier burning from PockWood for YEARS than a little backyard fire can do. Makes no sense! Yes, if you live 50 feet from someone with asthma and burn… not good. but I live far from anyone and have to breathe Pockwood Pond regularly. So I am going to burn. I’m going to pull a BISHOP!

  12. vip heckler says:

    Sure! Take it to the incinerator and let the minister of health smoke out those down west and who lives in close proximity

  13. Phoenix says:

    Our neighbor keeps burning garbage and the smoke comes str8 in our house and our elderly neighbor’s for hours. True about the scrubbers, but this is close so worse when thick smoke comes in and u can’t get away from it at all.

    Those people who don’t care about what happens when they burn are the same people who will mess up this lockdown phase for everyone else.

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  14. voiceofreason says:

    I believe what Hon. Rymer is saying is that backyard burning is a gate way as it can make Asthmatics more vulnerable to getting the COVID- 19 virus. There are no scientific studies that support this claim. There are studies that have found that a combination of air pollution and COVID-19 virus can be deadly. Not that the presence of one makes one more vulnerable to the other.

    “There’s a lot of concern about synergistic or combined effects of air pollution and respiratory viruses,” she added. “Some literature shows that respiratory viruses and air pollution can work together to cause more and worse forms of disease when combined. So if you have asthma at a level of two and you’re exposed to air pollution at a level of two, and a respiratory virus at a level of two, it won’t add up to a risk factor of just six—it’s more like eight or 10.”

    “This means that children faced with all three—asthma, air pollution exposure, and coronavirus— are likely to experience more wheezing and difficulty breathing and to require hospitalization”.

    The combination of the two can be more difficult to overcome than one by itself esp. COVID-19.

    Now this is the problem that i have with this Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic the basic non-existence of medical experts at the forefront to offer advice, detail facts and give their expert opinions. Leaders have to be more responsible with their communication as misinformation can lead to panic and unnecessary reactions. Now you could say well they are daily briefed by medical experts but relaying information is not as reliable as information straight from the source.

    Hon. Rymer probably means well but he is just following the Leadership of his party. Leaders need to be more responsible.

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