The focus of Government; however, remains on acquiring and installing a scrubber. Scrubber systems are a diverse group of air pollution control devices that can be used to remove some particulates and/or toxic gases from industrial exhaust streams.
The installation of a scrubber has been on the cards for more than a decade and in 2015, the National Democratic Party (NDP) government paid the US-based Consutech Systems LLC a $500,000 deposit on the $1 million scrubber; however, nothing was delivered and it was disclosed that Consutech gave a subcontract to a company for the scrubber, which eventually went out of business.
Responding to a question from Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) during the 7th Sitting of the 3rd Session of the 4th House of Assembly on April 20, 2021, Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Carvin Malone (AL) said “Consutech wants more money to be sent to them to find a replacement for this very scrubber. So this is why this date keeps moving. This particular contract was botched. We are trying to blow life into a dead situation.”
Hon Malone said; however, that his team is still working with Consutech to obtain a scrubber.
Speaking at the Eighth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola on Thursday, April 29, 2021, Hon Malone, in a statement on Waste Management, said the incinerator is now functional and back online and that is expected to alleviate the burning of frequent spontaneous open fires but much work remains to be done to ensure the emission is not a nuisance and health hazard.
“Mr Speaker, the scrubber, the elusive scrubber, must and will be delivered and installed. The Ministry continues to pursue this elusive scrubber without risking the loss of the country’s resources on this elusive scrubber.”
Meanwhile, Hon Malone said waste management challenges existed before hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2007 but was exacerbated after the hurricanes with the large volume of waste from disposal after the storm.
Since the electing of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government in 2019, he said the approach has been to address the urgent need.
“The Ministry of Health and Social Development took immediate steps to have Cabinet immediately approve the purchase of the electrical panel for tie incinerator, reopen dialogue with the manufacturer on the delivery and installation of this elusive scrubber, and to ship and install the new electrical panel to get the incinerator up and running.”
Hon Malone added that since the initial incinerator plant repair early last year there have been some subsequent repairs needed but most recently during the last eight weeks.