If you haven’t had a chance to come up to the North Sound on Virgin Gorda lately, then you are missing out on some serious action. The area is buzzing with activity! Oil Nut Bay is in full production mode, along with Mosquito Island and now Blunder Bay. Barges, crew boats brimming with workers, and excavators as far as the eye can see. This is all good news for the Virgin Islands as we prepare to take on Dubai as the world’s next hot spot.

But there is a problem: trash! With increased construction comes increased trash created by the influx of building materials, additional staff and overall increase in the island population as the properties come on line.

I recently took a “stroll” through the VG trash site. If you ever want to give your kids an idea of what Hiroshima looked like after the bomb was dropped, check out the dump. (The BVI Tourist Board might consider marketing this area to film companies scouting sites for post-apocalyptic movies!)

Seriously, we have a major problem. It is a crazy thing when Bitter End, Necker Island, Mosquito Island and Oil Nut Bay pay local companies top dollar to haul their trash away in giant dumpsters and then, while driving over scenic Gorda Peak, you cross paths with the same dumpster being hauled up the hill to be deposited into Hell on Earth. The fact is this just isn’t working anymore. It’s time to solve the problem before we go the way of the Lorax and Truffula Trees.

Entrepreneurs

Alic George and likeminded entrepreneurs are formulating plans to deal with the increase in trash. I spent two years on the island of Mustique in the Grenadines (1,400 square acres with an average annual population of 1,500), and I can tell you: They were doing the right thing.

Every piece of trash was separated into categories for sale, recycling or environmental applications. The industrial incinerator burned at 1,000 degrees, fuelled by combustibles collected from the restaurants and villas. Markets for aluminium, steel and tin were identified, and the empty, formerly fully laden, shipping containers coming to Mustique were shipped out with recyclables bound for China, Vietnam and other destinations hungry for raw materials to fuel their growing economies. Now that’s impressive!

Mr. George, a local entrepreneur, took the time to visit me on Mustique, and I gave him the full tour. He then flew the mad scientist in charge of the Mustique operation to VG to evaluate the opportunities here. No question about it, we can make VG a beacon for all the VI to follow.

‘Time to step up’

Let’s face it: We can’t sit back and enjoy the financial benefits of additional traffic/revenue/massive profits on the sale of VI land and stamp duty and so on if we don’t protect the very thing people come here for in the first place. This is a basic truth in business, and I can guarantee every stakeholder mentioned in this letter understands this.

So, what to do? We need to support the green efforts of entrepreneurs like Mr. George, Julie Swartz and the Green VI movement. We need to get funding at the government level to kick-start the programme. We need to mandate local businesses to pay in to the solution on a sliding scale. (Small business, small contribution — big business … .)

Recycling bottles to make fancy blown glass is not enough. Managing the huge volumes of trash generated by our ever expanding population and business ventures requires a well planned and well managed approach supported by the entire community and funded by those who will ultimately gain the most from these endeavours. Time to step up, ladies and gentlemen!

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