STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
DURING THE EIGHTH SITTING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON THURSDAY 29TH APRIL, 2021
AT THE SAVE THE SEED
ROAD TOWN, TORTOLA
INTRODUCTION TO THE WASTE STRATEGY CONSULTATION
The people of the Virgin Islands, these beautiful British Virgin Islands is home that God provided for us. We’ve always been proud of our beauty, but what about our cleanliness? Look around, what do you think about the way we have allowed ourselves to keep this lovely home that God has given us?
Mister Speaker, the Ministry of Health and Social Development has been searching for solutions to the waste management challenges. Challenges that began even before Hurricanes Irma and Maria; and were exacerbated by the unprecedented increase in the volume of waste for disposal after the storm.
Since the election of the VIP Government in Feb 2019 the approach has been to address urgent needs.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development then took immediate steps to
- have Cabinet immediately approve the purchase of the electrical panel for the incinerator;
- re-open dialogue with the manufacturer on the delivery & installation of this illusive scrubber; and
- to ship and install the new electrical panel to get the incinerator up and running.
Since the initial plant repair early last year, there have been some subsequent repairs needed, but most recently during the last eight weeks. The incinerator is now functional and back online. This is expected to alleviate the burden of frequent spontaneous open fires, but much work remains to be done, to ensure that the emissions are not a nuisance and health hazard.
Mister Speaker, the illusive scrubber must and will be delivered and installed. The Ministry continues to pursue this scrubber without risking the loss of the country’s resources.
- The Ministry of Health and Social Development has actively pursued clean-up of the islands with an aggressive programme for the collection and exportation of derelict vehicles and metals. In February 2021, over 1,800 derelict vehicles were exported to Columbia for recycling. The Department of Waste Management is currently making the necessary arrangements to aggressively tag and collect the remaining derelict vehicles that are on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.
- In addition, the Ministry completed a consultancy with the Agency for Resilience Empowerment and Development, Agency RED, that had been initiated under the previous administration. The purpose of the consultancy was to prepare a revised National Waste Management Strategy.
Throughout, the Ministry has also engaged regularly with the community, and has now decided on its strategy for moving forward. The way forward, is to take the Green Road. The Green Road Forward!
As announced by the Premier in the 2020 Budget address entitled “Transformation for Resilience and Sustainability: SMART strategies, Empowered People, and Green Development”, this Government is committed to a transformative vision of green development for the Territory.
Mister Speaker, we cannot continue to proceed by ignoring the environmental issues. This way, in this path lies pollution, undesired health impacts, loss of economic competitiveness, and a lower quality of life.
Thus, the Ministry of Health has already entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and pledged to provide support to the recycling work of civil-partners Green VI in partnership with the We Recycle Programme.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown, the We Recycle Programme with funding from the Department of Waste Management and in partnership with Green VI, increased the number of recycling collection points to 46 Territory-wide. Since November 2020, 2.2 million plastic water bottles have been diverted from Pockwood Pond.
But this is just the beginning. We are now ready to launch the 7R’s Waste Management Strategy: Rethink, Reform, Restrict, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Return.
Mister Speaker, we begin this period of public consultation on the proposed 7R’s Waste Management Strategy, with a view to soliciting public feedback, before we finalise and adopt this Strategy as our national policy and the way forward.
The objectives of public consultation are:
- To share with stakeholders the specific proposals in the strategy
- To highlight opportunities for public-private partnership
- To invite all stakeholders to imagine alternatives for the implementation of a green sustainable future BVI and to share those ideas with us and with your fellow citizens and residents.
We often said that, “Where there is no vision, people perish”; the 7R’s Waste Management Strategy envisions a BVI whose beauty will continue to sustain our high quality of life, our economy, and of whose beauty we will all continue to be proud. A BVI where our children grow up knowing that their home, this Country, these islands, must be kept as clean as they are beautiful. The 7R’s Waste Management Strategy is our path to making that vision a reality.
Therefore I would like to invite the public to the following Consultation Meetings scheduled to address the proposed Waste Management Strategy.
• On May 6 on Tortola at Althea Scatliffe Primary School at 6:30 p.m.
• On May 11 on Virgin Gorda at Old Yarde Village at 5:30 p.m.
• On May 13 on Jost Van Dyke at Foxy’s at 10:00 a.m.
• On May 23 on Anegada at the Anegada Reef Hotel at 1:00 p.m.
Persons can access the draft Waste Management Strategy by visiting bvi.gov.vg/dwm-policy-documents. Persons will also be able to access hardcopies by visiting the Ministry of Health and Social Development office at the Sea Meadow House Building adjacent to traffic light near the Red Cross Building.
Interested persons can submit comments by email to email@example.com or deliver letters addressed to the Permanent Secretary by 30th June, 2021 deadline. Thank you very much Mister Speaker.