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HomeNewsArchivesGARBAGE, GARBAGE SQUARED, GARBAGE CUBED

GARBAGE, GARBAGE SQUARED, GARBAGE CUBED

On St. John, a person’s unwanted “stuff” is considered garbage, trash, rubbish, etc. But on St. Croix, St. John’s excess (that which is not used up) is a financial burden. On St. Thomas the same product is not only a financial burden; it also becomes a health hazard and a very demanding competitor for that most precious island commodity -– space.
St. Johnians are in denial concerning their waste. More than a decade ago, they reportedly turned down a National Park offer of a “state of the art” incinerator built and operated by the National Park Service. The result is the infamous St. John landfill (dump).
As we all know, landfills are not the perfect solution. The St. John landfill was far from perfect and subject to periodic fires. At one point there was a massive fire requiring skilled assistance in outing it. Just like those periodic occurrences on St. Croix and St. Thomas with their respective plumes (smoke pattern).
What followed, however, was a miracle in political sleight of hand. It appears St. John is the “pristine” island, which should be kept clean at all cost. Read that “ALL COST.” The answer became, as so often is the case, let St. Thomas handle it.
A collection station was created on top of the St. John landfill and all St. John waste is trucked to this site. Here the garbage is off-loaded into a compactor and compressed into a very dense mass for transshipment. Trucks then traverse land and sea at great expense to deliver the gifts from our sister island to the St. Thomas landfill.
Crucians are surprisingly quiet about this luxury item which is denied them. Especially, when one considers they pay for half the cost of preparing and transporting these precious bundles. Want your school repaired? Sorry, transporting St. John waste. Want to be paid for five days instead of four? Sorry, transporting St. John waste.
St. Thomians, ever mindful of their Crucian brothers and sisters who struggle under the economic hardship of entertaining the major industry in the territory with the highest paying jobs bar none, are, once again, too proud to call upon St. Croix to accept some of the packages.
Of course, they would not begin to even contemplate suggesting St. Johnians assume responsibility for their own waste.
Would it be asking too much for St. Johnians to separate out the aluminum, other metals, glass, paper products and food products from their waste? These items, of course, can be recycled with relative simplicity. They can cook the “wet” garbage and feed it to hogs. These hogs could then be used for pig roasts, pleasing the local palate.
What happened to St. John’s “Golden Goat,” a unique opportunity to purge waste, recycle and earn instant gratification in the form of cash? Will St. Johnians ever come up with a solution to THEIR problem? Or will they continue to assume someone out there in La La Land is going to take care of them forever and ever?
At the very least, cannot the Legislature create a special “Waste District” and tax St. John property owners for the transportation costs of their garbage?
Inquiring minds would like to know.
Editor's note: Kirk Grybowski is a longtime resident of St. Thomas.

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On St. John, a person’s unwanted “stuff” is considered garbage, trash, rubbish, etc. But on St. Croix, St. John’s excess (that which is not used up) is a financial burden. On St. Thomas the same product is not only a financial burden; it also becomes a health hazard and a very demanding competitor for that most precious island commodity -– space.
St. Johnians are in denial concerning their waste. More than a decade ago, they reportedly turned down a National Park offer of a “state of the art” incinerator built and operated by the National Park Service. The result is the infamous St. John landfill (dump).
As we all know, landfills are not the perfect solution. The St. John landfill was far from perfect and subject to periodic fires. At one point there was a massive fire requiring skilled assistance in outing it. Just like those periodic occurrences on St. Croix and St. Thomas with their respective plumes (smoke pattern).
What followed, however, was a miracle in political sleight of hand. It appears St. John is the “pristine” island, which should be kept clean at all cost. Read that “ALL COST.” The answer became, as so often is the case, let St. Thomas handle it.
A collection station was created on top of the St. John landfill and all St. John waste is trucked to this site. Here the garbage is off-loaded into a compactor and compressed into a very dense mass for transshipment. Trucks then traverse land and sea at great expense to deliver the gifts from our sister island to the St. Thomas landfill.
Crucians are surprisingly quiet about this luxury item which is denied them. Especially, when one considers they pay for half the cost of preparing and transporting these precious bundles. Want your school repaired? Sorry, transporting St. John waste. Want to be paid for five days instead of four? Sorry, transporting St. John waste.
St. Thomians, ever mindful of their Crucian brothers and sisters who struggle under the economic hardship of entertaining the major industry in the territory with the highest paying jobs bar none, are, once again, too proud to call upon St. Croix to accept some of the packages.
Of course, they would not begin to even contemplate suggesting St. Johnians assume responsibility for their own waste.
Would it be asking too much for St. Johnians to separate out the aluminum, other metals, glass, paper products and food products from their waste? These items, of course, can be recycled with relative simplicity. They can cook the “wet” garbage and feed it to hogs. These hogs could then be used for pig roasts, pleasing the local palate.
What happened to St. John’s “Golden Goat,” a unique opportunity to purge waste, recycle and earn instant gratification in the form of cash? Will St. Johnians ever come up with a solution to THEIR problem? Or will they continue to assume someone out there in La La Land is going to take care of them forever and ever?
At the very least, cannot the Legislature create a special “Waste District” and tax St. John property owners for the transportation costs of their garbage?
Inquiring minds would like to know.
Editor's note: Kirk Grybowski is a longtime resident of St. Thomas.