Assistant Secretary Babauta Awards Grant For USVI Landfill Cleanup
Washington, D.C. - Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas, Tony Babauta, today signed a $1,154,780, Capital Improvement Project (CIP) grant to clean up scrap metal and tires illegally stockpiled on and around the Anguilla and Bovoni landfills in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). The grant addresses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's order which requires scrap materials gathered around the USVI landfills be safely disposed.
The Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) will manage and utilize funds for the collection, transportation, cleaning and treatment of scrap materials collected around the landfills. VIWMA is expected to safely process nearly 40% of the illegal waste that has been accumulated and ship scrap tires to an approved recycling or disposal facility in an environmentally sound manner.
"I am enthusiastic about this initiative. These landfills are replete with potentially hazardous and environmentally harmful waste products. We need to limit our susceptibility to the risks associated with potential tire fires and the unnecessary emission of additional pollutants into the air, land and surrounding waters," said Assistant Secretary Babauta.
Landfilling scrap tires may potentially form breeding grounds for huge swarms of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis if not properly disposed of or recycled.
"The receipt of these funds is a critical step forward and will provide VIWMA with the necessary resources to begin the cleanup process, benefitting not just the environment but local USVI communities as well," added Babauta.
The Anguilla and Bovoni landfills hold the largest stockpile of tires on St. Thomas.