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

- says action being taken to stop copper & other metals extraction during after hour periods
Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) says authorities have uncovered an illegal mental mining operation at the Pockwood Pond Dumpsite on Tortola, which could be sparking some fires. Photo: GIS/Youtube
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. Photo: VINO/File
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. Photo: VINO/File
DUFF’S BOTTOM, Tortola, VI– 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.”

'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.

28 Responses to “'Blowtorches' being used to retrieve metals @ Pockwood Pond dumpsite– Hon Penn”

  • them taking you for a ride....don't mind solid waste ....they lie (26/05/2022, 14:27) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    Get your facts straight marlon because there is no metal to extract from the incinerator side
    • fireman (26/05/2022, 16:07) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      Since you seem to know what is going on, enlighten us then
    • WOW (26/05/2022, 17:07) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      I'm saying the same thing , like did he even thought about that just WOW sad statement
    • Greg (26/05/2022, 19:49) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      A significant place like this with no cameras? What are you waiting for? If this is true, the perpetrators could have been caught long ago. With one wrong torch, they can send all around them to smithereens.
    • Poli.Farmer (26/05/2022, 22:24) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      Corruption and Incompetency in the industry and sector of Waste management! I will leave it there. Done let me PLOUGH your Poli.Bed Hon Penn!!!!
  • Blowtorch? (26/05/2022, 14:47) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Doubt that, too bulky to sneak into the dump. Probably just low temperature propane bottles with an adjustable heater flame nozzle.
  • hmmm (26/05/2022, 14:58) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    If we recycle certain materials, it could have prevented so much garbage from being disposed
  • Baller (26/05/2022, 16:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The disposal of material from the hospital or certain chemical based items are hazardous, how are they discarded and destroyed? we have to be careful with what is burned as once lit, all of those particles makes the air we breath dangerously the same. we have better ways to recycle and use natural resources to dispose of waste. isnt that what Waste Management is for?
    • Don’t Worry (27/05/2022, 03:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Hey Baller: The best practice regarding medical waste would be to sterilize it (autoclave it) before disposal. However, even it it wasn’t (though a potential issue for the garbage collectors) it’s unlikely that organism mediated diseases would be spread from burning medical wastes. While there are heat-resistant virus and bacteria, they generally don’t remain viable (as in alive) after open fires. In fact, surgical instruments at one time were sterilized by passing them over an open flame. That said, burning plastics does release substances that can be harmful in the short run (e.g. aldehydes, which are eye and respiratory irritants) and the long run (e.g. metals used as stabilizers in plastics). The extent of harm depends on the amount and duration of exposure. If burning is required (a debatable topic), then only combustible materials (e.g. pallets, scrap wood, carboard, paper, etc.) should be burned. Ultimately though, waste management is not an issue of sufficient political importance to compel any meaningful action. It seems more important to put a lift in the admin building, or AC in the sports complex.
  • WOW (26/05/2022, 16:22) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    So 20 years they been doing that,and you just found
  • BuzzBvi (26/05/2022, 17:08) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    So nothing new form Unity Gov more same old same old.
  • Bronco (26/05/2022, 17:51) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    One riding bulls another spouting it.
    • Time to open the place.. (27/05/2022, 05:57) Like (29) Dislike (0) Reply
      Time to lead Hon Penn. Stop following. Leaders make the tough decisions.. you are incharge now. U got the chance u always wanted...Here is what I suggest,. All Visitors must produce upon entry a negative COVID test not more than 4 days old, nothing more...allow mask wearing to be a business policy, let businesses decide if they want their customers to wear mask or not, keep government out of that.. Open up the economy..
  • Mr Samuels (26/05/2022, 18:03) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    It's just disappointed that our leaders of the territory is avoiding a local recycling company that has a solution to the problem. Alkebulan Minds Recycling Inc we are the Ones to make that change,
    #government check in
  • do better (26/05/2022, 18:12) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Considering the risk to the public, the fact there is no site security to monitor this sort of thing is complete negligence!!
  • problem need a sulution (26/05/2022, 18:18) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    This problem need a solution so propose the following:

    1 Set up functional CCTV at the entrance upon or before setting them up. Let it be known, unauthorized dumping of garbage of entering to the compound after hour will merit a heavy fine and jail time.


    2. Have a worker at that work at the facility have a 1 day of parole with a double pay adding for this incentive. The purpose is to document any person attempting to enter the compound after works.

    If one or both of these suggestions are used the problem will never happen again
    • @ problem need a solution (26/05/2022, 22:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      What??? They have to actually work & not fix people's vehicles on the side?!!
  • AJ (26/05/2022, 19:38) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    The problem is not that someone is lighting a fire the problem is that if your burying the different types of trash and food and green waste then there will be a built up of different gasses including carbon dioxide and methane gases and other gasses that needs to be properly monitored and if this is not done in the right way and you will have unexpected fires until the world ends we are very lucky that we haven’t lost lots of lives already from explosions and that power station and delta service station are all in danger of the methane buildups and explosions this is a very serious position to be in its really not anyone starting these fires these gasses needs to be properly mined and capped off and monitored.
  • Disgrace (26/05/2022, 22:01) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
    You coulda never be Premier boy. You too soft. Sowande beat you by far.
  • HAHA (26/05/2022, 22:52) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Someone posted a video of 3 guys burning wires for copper recently on the Community Board. I doubt if this was their first time and I’m sure the fire that day and others were started by them after they lost control of the fire as they did not appear to have container with water nearby.
  • bummm (26/05/2022, 22:54) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    penn wake up, all the chemicals mixed up there spontaneously burst into flames. you should know that
  • Another little secret (27/05/2022, 03:32) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is nothing new. Sometime ago, I was disposing of building debris at the VG landfill, I observed individuals walking around collecting electrical wire, and piling it on top of polystyrene blocks formerly part of YCCS docks. When I returned with another load, it was almost impossible to drive into the landfill due to thick black smoke from the polystyrene that had been lit to burn off the insulation from the wire. Two men were standing around tending the fire, using bandanas for protection. Burning polystyrene yields carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Burning wire insulation releases toxic metals such as arsenic (used as a plastic stabilizer). Perhaps a one off case, but recall that all waste in VG ends up a the top of a hill where it is burned in the open. Bottom line: there is (and there has not been) any effective waste management policy in the Territory ever. Neither is there any desire by belongers (ie. voters) or the politicians to do something about it. The online media for years corroborates this. Incinerator bought but not commissioned so it was not used properly, an air scrubber purchased after the fact that laid rusting around for almost a decade before payings someone $ 1 million to wire it up, scrubber poorly maintained so that it eventually failed, inadequate planning for growth, and we;’re still burning garbage in the open, with zero effort to at least segregate materials. Makes for a nice visual as you arrive and depart on a ferry to the US VIs. And, while I’m at it, when was the last time septic systems were inspected and or pumped out (most municipalities that allow them require pump outs every 5-7 years)? Didn’t a high school project show elevated coliform (ie fecal) counts in popular sea waters? Was that ever followed up? Is there even a properly operating sewer treatment plant? The odors around Road Town suggest otherwise. Waste management in the BVIs is a mess.
  • Come better than this. (27/05/2022, 04:50) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Hospital, health care is in a mess, low morals, unhappiness, can go on and on,. This is what your first show on Vino is...Health care / NHI need to see moves to create positive changes and build confidence in you...
  • Oh My (27/05/2022, 04:55) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. Minister while you are talking can you please let the public know why the CT scan machine is down for the past 1-2 months and our elderly have to go to bougainvillea clinic for service and pay.
  • Post the news (27/05/2022, 06:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    About you having to pay the bill the dollars for your foolishness
  • sunny day (27/05/2022, 12:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Yes (27/05/2022, 16:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It should be a proof that you need security at the entrance
  • WEW (27/05/2022, 16:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We all know with the incinerator down and the resulting pile of refuse getting larger they light it off. Happens every time so stop the lies. Nothing has changed.

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