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'Blowtorches' being used to retrieve metals @ Pockwood Pond dumpsite– Hon Penn

'Blowtorches' being used to retrieve metals @ Pockwood Pond dumpsite– Hon Penn

Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) says authorities have uncovered a metal extraction operation at the Pockwood Pond dumpsite on Tortola, which could be responsible for some of the fires there.

The Minister made the announcement during a statement at today's May 26, 2022, 3rd Sitting of the 4th Session of the 4th House of Assembly (HoA) at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola in relation to separate May 16 and May 22, 2022 fires at the dumpsite.

Hon Penn said while authorities are yet to determine the exact cause of the first fire, “The Department of Waste Management has uncovered evidence of persons illegally accessing the dumpsite after hours, and using blowtorches or similar devices to retrieve copper and other metals from discarded items.”

“Given the high concentrations of methane gas on-site, any form of intense heat applied in close proximity increases the likelihood of fires erupting.”

Hon Penn said the Department of Waste Management has uncovered evidence of persons illegally accessing the dumpsite after hours, and using blowtorches or similar devices to retrieve copper and other metals from discarded items.


'Cease & desist'


The Health Minister appealed to persons to stop engaging in this type of activity at the site and to cease and desist immediately.

He said those actions are detrimental to the safe operations of the dumpsite and have a damaging impact on the wider community. The minister also added that a more proactive approach will be taken to enhance security on the property including the addition of cameras and guards after operation hours.

For the fire on May 22, 2022, Hon Penn said it was sparked by the spontaneous combustion of unprocessed garbage.

He mentioned that action will be taken for adequate daily supervision of the dumpsite, including a diversion of combustible materials from the dumpsite.

Parts being procured for incinerator


Hon Penn reminded that the solid waste facility at Pockwood Pond is open to the public from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm, however, “Only operators contracted with the government to collect residential waste will be allowed to enter the facility after 4:00 pm,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the incinerator remains offline since February 2022 as a result of fire damage, however, he said the Ministry is in the process of procuring parts to get the system back up and running.

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