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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