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UPDATE: EE/LL sewage woes dominate coral reef meeting

Ms. Sarah Young, team leader of marine and social scientist from the Newcastle University, United Kingdom, came face on with the daunting issue of sewage that residents are faced with. Photo: VINO
A small but interactive group of residents of East End/Long Look turned out at the district's community centre and spoke candidly on the sewage and history of their communities. Photo: VINO
A small but interactive group of residents of East End/Long Look turned out at the district's community centre and spoke candidly on the sewage and history of their communities. Photo: VINO
One resident said that the effort to address the issue of sewage was not as robust as it should have been approached by government. Photo: VINO
One resident said that the effort to address the issue of sewage was not as robust as it should have been approached by government. Photo: VINO
The findings of the consultations which will also be done in Cane Garden Bay, will be shared with senior ministers of government. Photo: VINO
The findings of the consultations which will also be done in Cane Garden Bay, will be shared with senior ministers of government. Photo: VINO
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour Ronald F. Smith-Berkeley said that the coral reefs contribute billions of dollars to Caribbean economies from tourism hence the importance of the study by the United Kingdom based experts emanating from the Newcastle University. Photo: VINO/File
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour Ronald F. Smith-Berkeley said that the coral reefs contribute billions of dollars to Caribbean economies from tourism hence the importance of the study by the United Kingdom based experts emanating from the Newcastle University. Photo: VINO/File
Residents of the East End/Long Look communities are targeted for the anticipated interactive community meeting this evening January 22, 2014 as they are slated to be engaged by a team of marine and social scientists at the community centre. Photo: VINO/File
Residents of the East End/Long Look communities are targeted for the anticipated interactive community meeting this evening January 22, 2014 as they are slated to be engaged by a team of marine and social scientists at the community centre. Photo: VINO/File
EAST END/LONG LOOK, Tortola, VI – “We have had lots of talks about sewage in all the groups here tonight, issues of sewage seems to really be a big thing,” said Ms. Sarah Young, team leader of a group of marine and social scientists conducting research in the Virgin Islands (VI) from the Newcastle University, United Kingdom.

Part of the team held an interactive community meeting last evening January 22, 2014, at the East End Community Centre which was attended by a small group of residents who were fully resourceful in the process.

The team is here after they reached out to Government to grant them permission for the VI to be part of an international project of the UK University. “We had a letter of support from the Conservation and Fisheries [Department] to come here and do this project,” explained Ms. Young.

“The sewage treatment has come up with every group here tonight, it’s a major issue that people are worried about here and one that needs attention,” Ms. Young told Virgin Islands News Online in summarizing the night’s interactive session.

One community member had described the sewage by saying, “Efforts to address sewerage was not as robust as it should.” Finance was suggested as one of the main challenges in this case.

The team was obviously appalled to note that despite all the developments that has taken place in the growth of the Territory, the practice of open sewage has not been addressed.

Ms. Young said that for marine, sewage is more food for sea weeds. “So you got sewage into the sea and it means the seaweeds loves it but it grows and out compete the coral and that’s the main effect,” she said.

The study will be carried out only in the East End and Cane Garden Bay communities as the team said the exercise is way too costly to do in the entire VI.  In March 2014, the existing team members will be joined by biologists who will get to the bottom of the sea water for that aspect of the study.

The discussion focused on the many transformational changes that have occurred in the VI from its humble beginning. They are also planning a feedback session with national leaders to discuss the findings of the consultations, as well as, the study.

The project is anticipated to run for three months and part of this period is to be spent conducting interviews, organise workshops and communicate with everyone who interacts with coral reefs.  East End/Long Look will be the first community of target for such activities.

The key objectives of the project is to determine how people use the sea and the reefs; what changes people have noticed over time; how well people think the coral reefs are being managed; and how important the reefs are among others.

See previous story published on Janary 22, 2014:

UK University team contracted for VI reef studies

- The team will be meeting East End/Long Look residents today

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Residents of the East End/Long Look communities are targeted for an anticipated interactive community meeting this evening January 22, 2014, as they are slated to be engaged by a team of marine and social scientists.

The services of the United Kingdom based experts emanating from the Newcastle University, has secured a contract with the government of the Virgin Islands (VI) through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour to conduct research on coral reefs and coastal communities in the Virgin Islands and determine how climate change affects the reefs.

The project is anticipated to run for three months and part of this period is to be spent conducting interviews, organize workshops and communicate with everyone who interacts with coral reefs.  East End/Long Look will be the first community of target for such activities.

According to a release from the Natural Resources department, the key objectives of the project is to determine how people use the sea and the reefs; what changes people have noticed over time; how well people think the coral reefs are being managed; and how important the reefs are among others.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour seeks to ensure that the environment, the Fishing Industry and the resource base on which they depend are managed in a sustainable manner,” stated the release.

It is according by agreement that the  information collected will be presented to the community through workshops and shared with Government’s decision makers and used at the international level to help scientists understand how reefs might change in the future.

Permanent Secretary, Ronald F. Smith-Berkeley said, “We know that each year coral reefs contribute billions of dollars to Caribbean economies from tourism, fisheries and the provision of coastal defense from storms. Coral reefs generate the golden sandy beaches tourists love; they protect the shoreline against erosion and act as a home to lobster, conch and our favourite fish. For many, reefs represent an important source of income and/or a vital food supply.”

He added, “For this reason we have allowed for this team of scientists to come and do what they love, ultimately, for the benefit of the BVI.”

Residents of the eastern end of the Territory are scheduled to sit with the group at 6:30 p.m. today at the East End/Long Look Community Centre where the subject is expected to be brainstormed.

14 Responses to “UPDATE: EE/LL sewage woes dominate coral reef meeting”

  • ... (22/01/2014, 18:26) Like (0) Dislike (8) Reply
    This cannot put any bread on my table!
    • pat (23/01/2014, 11:30) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      what if you don't have any fish to put on your table? or tourists to drive around because there are no beaches? or fish for fishermen? or birds? or conch? think!!!
  • student (22/01/2014, 18:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I want to see the entire study before I comment
    • pat (23/01/2014, 11:32) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      where is your critical thinking? open to the possibilities and then see what the study says.
  • x (22/01/2014, 19:11) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    Another useless peudo-scientific "study'.
  • Hmmm (23/01/2014, 06:53) Like (9) Dislike (7) Reply
    What happen to the LOCAL company??? Couldn't Dr. O'Neal do this?
    • sad (23/01/2014, 11:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      our local companies caused the sewage in de first place, weed needs people who know what dey doin
    • right (23/01/2014, 19:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Couldn't Ocean Conversion give us water? lol
  • S.R. (23/01/2014, 08:03) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply

    To hell with what the environment is doing. That is mostly natural. What about what government do?? What about Trellis and new airport

    • pat (23/01/2014, 11:40) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      sewage dumping is not "mostly natural" (you may thing that sewage itself is natural- but not for the ocean)- It can affect the environment and can also affect what happens around Trellis and the new airport by contributing to the consequences. It all works together. It is not separate. That is the problem with people-- they keep studies all separate when they all work together.
      If we find out what the issues are and how to handle them, then we can pressure the government with publicity from an "outside source and experts" to consider infrastructure before pushing big projects without thinking about sewage.
  • ------------- (23/01/2014, 09:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    turn out weak as they keep boycotting everthing NDP has
  • Art (23/01/2014, 10:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    If you cannot flush then NDP must go
  • CommentSickness (23/01/2014, 10:51) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply

    These here comments above are UNBELIEVABLE!
    This is why the BVI will go down and down economically, because so many of our people think short term and local, or don't even think at all.
    To the blogger name '…' who says "this can't put bread on my table!" WHAT are you talking about? So you don't care about reefs and clean oceans, that's ok if that's your ignorant choice. But if you keep polluting your seashore with your own sh*t, do you really think people from around the world will want to come visit? Did you notice that most of this economy is based on tourism, and most tourism here is based on our beautiful islands and ocean? (I can see the Tourist Board ads in the New York Times - "Come and smell our untreated faeces. Come to the BVI!')
    Question … : Do you smoke cigarettes? No? Why not? Because it bad for you and you know it even though it won't kill immediately. Same thing.
    Student: good point. Let's see what these people find out. Be skeptical, be smart, don't jump to conclusions.
    x: how do you know this is a) useless? and b) pseudo-scientific? Most of your world is built on science and all that science is based on studies. Who are you to decide this one is worthless? Why do you want to trash this study? You have something against it? Something against people coming in from outside and telling you you're sh*tting in your own back yard? Get over it. Deal with the truth: you are sh*tting all over your back yard, AND on your golden goose. Don't blame the messanger.
    Hmmm … : This is a Caribbean-wide study. It's not a petty contract to put some dollars in the hand of a local voter. Some people may not have noticed - we are part of a region full of islands with the same problems. Oh yes, I forgot - we cant see beyond. It's all about fast cash and nothing else, right?
    S.R.: Just the best one yet! "To hell with what the environment is doing." Excuse me, no matter what you do, you do it in the environment. Earth is our living space, our atmosphere is home. Even if you seal off your house and put A/C and concrete all over, it's still in our environment. The reason some people 'care' is not because we are like little girls who 'love' their little dolly in a pretend kind of way. It's because the environment is EVERYTHING. You might not have noticed but you and everyone like you affects the systems that keep us breathing. "It's mostly natural" - say it enough times and maybe it will come true. Try to prove it and you won't get far at all. That's why 90% of the world's scientists who study the earth systems have to agree that, no, it's no longer natural. Not like it used to be in old times. And guess what, pumping sewage into the sea from 1000s of people who were not there before - that's going to have an affect. You can wish it wasn't true, but it is. "Government" "Trellis" "airport" - you think the government is more powerful than the environment? You got another thing coming.
    The last one I don't understand but I do understand that the reason the BVI is full of sh*t these days is because too many people got these attitudes. Too many people choose stupidness over intelligence. Sure, wait and see if this study is legit, but don't just diss it because it tells you hard truths.

  • cat walk (23/01/2014, 15:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    there will be no sewerage fix so you all can forget it!!! BAM


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