July 29, 2005 – In a letter Thursday to Waste Management Authority Executive Director May Adams Cornwall, Sen. Neville James called for V.I. officials to immediately identify a temporary storage site for used tires. James stated, "I am requesting that the WMA immediately identify a site to temporarily store used tires until a permanent solution can be found." The letter was accompanied by a press release on the same subject.
The correspondence made reference to the thousands of illegally dumped tires that are "a perfect breeding ground for the Aedea aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the dengue fever virus." Sen. James said he understands that WMA is "working diligently" on a long-term solution that includes changes to legislation and enforcement rules. He also noted that certain "conditions" must be met regarding the storage of used tires. However, he added, "this government must act quickly to bring relief to our residents who are living in fear of a mosquito bite."
On Wednesday, WMA met with officials from Fire Services, Department of Parks and Natural Resources, the Health Department, and tire vendors to come up with a solution to the tire disposal problem. However, the groups did not come up with a strategy to provide an immediate solution. (See "V.I. Officials, Tire Vendors Address Discarded Tire Problem".)
In a press release, also issued on Thursday, James suggested that the illegally disposed tires and the incidences of dengue fever are linked. "I am convinced that the amount of illegally dumped tires on St. Croix is directly related to the rising number of reported and clinically confirmed cases of dengue fever being experienced on this island," James said.
In a telephone interview on Friday, James said that several of his staff members visited the abandoned home in Williams Delight and observed the used tires inside the structure. On Tuesday, environmental health division officials discovered more than 50 mosquito-infested tires around an abandoned home in Williams Delight. (See "Dengue Mosquitoes Breeding in Dumped Tires".)
The V.I. Housing Authority was asked to clean the site. However, instead of removing the tires, they were placed inside the abandoned house. (See "Neighbors Say Mosquito-Infested Tires Not Removed".)
James concluded his letter by asking Cornwall to "contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss your plan of action regarding the temporary storage site."
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