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PRESS RELEASE: DEPARTMENT OF DISASTER MANAGEMENT URGES CAUTION IN WASTE OIL DISPOSAL

PRESS RELEASE: DEPARTMENT OF DISASTER MANAGEMENT URGES CAUTION IN WASTE OIL DISPOSAL

September 25, 2013823Views
(Photo Caption: A collage of some of the oil spills that have occurred in the British Virgin Islands in recent years including Nanny Cay, Duff’s Bottom, Leverick Bay, Road Town Jetty and the MV Vagabond.)

The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is urging persons and business
establishments that generate waste oil to be diligent when disposing of this
waste product.

Director of the DDM, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo said
oil spills are not only detrimental to our health and the environment but also
expensive to clean up.

Ms. DaBreo noted that in the last 14 years,
the BVI has experienced several land and marine based oil spills which have
resulted in the Government incurring close to $1 million in clean-up
costs.

“Cleaning up oil spills that could have been
avoided with due diligence constitutes a waste of Government resources,
particularly in the current challenging economic climate when resources are
scarce,” Ms. DaBreo stated. “It is therefore important that persons who generate
and handle waste oil be more cautious in so doing.”

 The DDM is working assiduously with a number
of departments to ensure that legal action can be taken against persons who
knowingly or unknowingly cause pollution in the British Virgin
Islands.

“The contamination and environmental
degradation caused by persons who are responsible for oil spills cannot be
ignored and they must be held accountable for their actions. Waste oil in
particular can have a significant impact on marine life and birds, the water
table and it can contaminate both soil and drinking water sources,” Ms. DaBreo
added.

 Oil
spills are usually caused by negligence, the break-down of equipment, natural
disasters or deliberate dumping. Oil spills can have devastating effects on the
environment and on wildlife whose habitat is sometimes affected.

Waste oil refers to any petroleum-based or
synthetic oil that has been used and which has now been contaminated with
impurities such as dirt, metal scrapings, human waste, solvents, halogens or
saltwater. The DDM advises that waste oil should be placed in sealed, air-tight,
plastic or glass containers and taken to the incinerator at Pockwood Pond for
proper disposal.

The DDM serves as the focal point for oil
spill response in the BVI. One of the many functions of the DDM as outlined in
the 2009 National Oil Spill Plan is to maintain a centralised record of events
and as such, the department has to be notified of all incidents involving the
dumping or spillage of oil or other harmful products that occur in the
BVI.