Monday, July 25, 2011

Trash Disposal

A stinky subject for today, it occurred to me that while I've written about most of the utilities on island, one thing I've never addressed is what happens to trash in the BVI.

Shortly after moving to Tortola last August, it became apparent to me that I needed to find out the trash truck schedule. Moving always seems to involve a lot of trash -- boxes and packing materials and all the things you realize you didn't need after all. After a week, we had accumulated enough trash that I set it outside, and vowed to be vigilant to find out when trash pick-up was. A week later, with stinking trash accumulating on our porch and no garbage truck in sight, I went to my best source for information of this sort, the neighbor girl.

I asked Michelle, "what day is trash day?". She stared at me blankly. I rephrased, "which day does the truck come to pick up the trash?" She took a beat, and then explained that the trash truck came on Sunday, but only to the dumpsters. It took me a minute to cotton on, but I finally realized that there was no residential trash pick-up in the BVI. To dispose of all the trash sitting on the porch, I would have to load it into my car and drive it to the closest dumpster. I'm glad I talked to Michelle -- the idea of having to carry my own trash would never have occurred to me otherwise, having never lived anywhere before that didn't offer curbside pick-up.

I'm accustomed to this aspect of BVIsland life now. What I'm still having trouble getting used to is that there is no recycling offered on the island. Tortola is small, only about 22 square miles. There is no space for a landfill, and as a result, all the trash gets incinerated. While the incineration does prevent the island from being overtaken with trash, it also affects the air quality in this otherwise fairly-pristine part of the world. I can't help but think that recycling would help reduce the amount of trash going to the incinerator, and therefore improve the quality of air on island.

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