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WMA Poised to Help Recycling Association Clean Up the Island

March 7, 2007 — The St. Croix Recycling Association wants to clean up its island in an environmentally friendly way, and May Adams Cornwall, executive director of the V.I. Waste Management Authority, wants to help.
Conrwall spoke to about 50 prospective members of the association and other interested residents Wednesday evening at the Pearl B. Larsen School auditorium. A banner put up on the wall by the schoolchildren says it all: "Help Us Recycle."
Four strategic goals that Cornwall addressed were federal and local compliance, improvement and optimization of present services, projected and new services, and revenue generation.
However, she noted there were no government funds forthcoming to achieve these goals.
She said, under those goals, wastewater and solid waste were the main concern. In the improvement and organization of present services, wastewater pump stations need to be upgraded, and she added that odor control is a challenge.
Cornwall also stated that solid waste disposal is done house to house and at drop-off bin sites and that there needs to be waste diversion for scrap metal, white goods, used oil and batteries.
Noting that the authority's revenue needs to be expanded with environmental fees and wastewater user fees, Cornwall said presently there aren't enough funds available for new and expanded services in odor control, preventive maintenance, energy efficiency, water reclamation and beneficial sludge reuse of wastewater.
In the half-hour presentation she went on to say that major issues for solid waste are street and roadside cleaning.
She explained that the authority's effort to recycle and reuse aluminum, glass, yard waste, cooking oil, and plastics isn't going too well. Cornwall added that tax incentives should be given for waste diversion of scrap tires, electronic waste, household hazardous waste, construction and demolition waste.
She added that WMA's role would be to develop an entire program to educate the public to get them involved, along with the implementation of regulatory and enforcement programs.
Cornwall said that the key areas for the recycling association participation would be advocacy, partnership, entrepreneurship, research, grant writing and regionalization.
Carol Burke, the treasurer for the V.I. Resource Conservation & Development Council, said the council would be the umbrella for the association to organize under.
Burke, who is also executive director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, added that the vision of the council is balancing growth and development with a quality environment.
An independent nonprofit organization incorporated in 1990, the council develops partnerships with governmental, nongovernmental and private organizations.
Dee Osinski, the authority's environmental educator, said " a whole army of volunteers is needed to get chairs and tables set up." The groups that people can help with are organizational structure; policies and laws; research, reuse reduce projects; composting; depots for recycling; help existing business and grant writing.
Madhu Sonde, a concerned citizen who each day drives past the landfill to the airport, said he's "tired of seeing all of the plastic bags flying around all the time."
The next recycling association meeting will be April 3 at 5:30 p.m. at Pearl B. Larsen School. For more information on the association, call 692-9632 ext. 5.
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