The Daily News. Friday, October 1.1993
V.I. hosts conference on serious pollution problem
The ocean is one of the Virgin
Islands' greatest natural resources.
It provides recreation, supports
tourism and our fishing industry,
and is a source of water for our
desalination plants. Given the abun-
dance of our surrounding sea water,
it istasy to assume that our supply
of clean sea water is unlimited.
Recent evidence suggests that it is
not the case. however.
Fish populations have declined
because of untreated sewage dis-
charged in water, pollution of man-
grove-forest nurseries, industrial
waste, sediment runoff and the
over-harvesting of fish. Ground-
water supplies in the Virgin Islands
also have been degraded by pollu-
tants that ate carried to the water in
runoff or by infiltration from land
areas. These forms of pollution are
called nonpoint source pollution.
Nonpoint source pollution has
become a serious problem in the
Virgin Islands. It comes from
almost everywhere. It even occurs
naturally, to a certain extent.
The pollution from any one spot
or area usually is so small that it
would be insignificant if it were the
only source of pollution. But when
all of these small amounts of pollu-
tion are combined, they can create a
The mostsignifcant our=cIf
nonpoint source pollution in the
Virgin Islands comes from rain
water moving over the land, picking
up pollutants and carrying them to
our surface water or to our ground-
Nonpoint source pollution in the
Virgin Islands also is associated
with construction development,
urban runoff, land clearing, failing
septic systems, agriculture, marina
operations and hydrologic modifi-
cation. In undisturbed areas of the
islands, forests or decaying vegeta-
tion, natural soil erosion processes
and animal waste all contribute to
However, the natural system's
levels of pollution are so low that
they can be absorbed. diluted or
changed so they usually do not
affect the quality of water.
On the other band, when humans
change land uses to suit their needs,
this natural balance of nature is
changed. Not only has the natural
process changed, but the processes
that remove these pollutants uar.-
rally can be short-circuited.
For example. in urban areas..the
natural cover is removed when it is
paved over. and the natural channel
is modified to remove runoff faster.
Pollutants carried by runoff
include oil drippings, fallout from
auto emissions, sediment from con-
struction sites, industrial sites, pes-
ticides and fertilizer from lawns and
material from parking lots.
Since Kmart was constructed on
SL Croix, the surface water runoff
has increased, thus carrying a vari-
ety of pollutants every time it rains.
All the trees and vegetation were
removed from the site without con.
sideration for runoff. If the parking
lot had been landscaped with trees.
grasses or flowers, the surface
runoff would have decreased
On Oct. 4 and 5. the First Annu-
al Virgin Islands Conference on
Nonpoint Source Pollution will be
held at Bolongo Limetree Beach
Resort on St. Thomas. The theme
for this conference will be "Finding
Solutions to Environmental Pollu.
In conjunction with the confer-
ence, local school children will par-
ticipate in a poster and essay con-
test to express their views on non-
point source pollution in the
The students with the best
posters and essays will be prescntec
See OLASEE, page 18
18 Environment mTe DaiyNow
OLASEE: Meeting will address federal regulations
(Continued from page 17)
with 5100 by Joan Harrigan Farrel-
ly during the conference's awards
ceremony. Gov. Alexander A. Far-
rally will welcome.participants in
the opening ceremony. Planning
and Natural Resources Commis-
sioner Roy E. Adams will give the
Tdpics to be discussed include:
Federal rules and regulations
governing nonpoint source pollu-
tion, by Malcolm Henning of the
Environmental Protection Agency.
Territorial rules and regula-
tions governing nonpoint source
pollution by Benjamin Nazario of
Planning and Natural Resources.
Historical perspectives on the
Virgin Islands environment by
Edward Towle, Island Rexources
* Safeguarding our resources for
the future, LaVeme Ragster, East-
ern Caribbean Center, University of
the Virgin Islands.
Guest speaker, Stanley
Due to editing and typing
errors, a word was omitted from
one paragraph and an entire sen-
tence from the following para-
graph in Olasee Davis' column in
last Friday's newspaper. They
should have read:
"Sewage and other forms of
wastewater also carry pathogens,
toxins and other contaminants into
our coastal environment.
"These toxins are absorbed on
sludge particles and sludge is
increasing along our coastlines,
killing fish and marine mammals,
Selengut of Maho Bay Camps Inc.
How erosion from construction
projects harms the environment,
Rate Boulon. Fish and Wildlife.
What to do to minimize or pre-
vent erosion, V;'ar riraud, PNR.
birds and other marine organisms
that inhabit the shores.
"Yet some people in these
islands are willfully throwing
trash into the ocean, believing that
it is the right thing to do.
"They will tell you that the
ocean can handle tons of trash
because il cleans itself. They will
argue with you, saying that you
will never see the trash again.
"I guess these people never
heard the saying: "what goes
around comes around."
The benefits of planning devel.
o ment to fit into the landscape,
eith Richards, PNR.
Vegetative erosion and sedi-
mentation control practices, Dale
Structural erosion and sedi.
mentation control practices, Warner
How to prepare an effective
erosion and sedimentation control
plan. William F. McComb,
Others who will present papers
are Marcia Taylor, Timothy Cun-
nihgham, Julie Wright, Mariok
Morales, Warner Irizarry. Shadrach
Oill. Tom Unnio, Barry W. Kim-
ball, Douglas White, Lynne Mac-
Donald, Nathalie Peter. Kim Lind.
lau, Dennis Hubbard, Barbara
Kojis. Olasee Davis, Jeff Schmidt.
Akil Pcterscn, Algen Petersen, Car-
los Padin and Clement Lewsey.
3f FOR INFORMATION
Contact Janice Hodge at
PNR at 774-3320.
Olasee Davis, who holds a mas-
ter of science degree in range man-
agement and forestry ecology, is a
St. Croix ecology activist and