EAST focuses on the youth of the Virgin Islands as part of our educational campaign. We have raised funds to support Eco-camps for elementary school students to promote our natural resources and understanding of tropical ecosystems. In the past, the camps have been offered at no cost to the participants.
EAST was awarded $20,000 from the US Environmental Protection Agency to train members of the public housing communities and other organizations to conduct their own neighborhood meetings on solid waste issues affecting St. Thomas. The program which is concerned with issues of Environmental Justice began June 1, 1996 with ten groups participating. The program continued in September and November of 1996. The purpose of the project is to equip members of the community-at-large with the information that they will need to become more politically aware and active regarding the issue of solid waste management. Due in great part to the St. Thomas landfill currently operating beyond its capacity and the burning due to a decade-old methane fire, the Environmental Justice project has attracted a lot of interest from the St. Thomas community.
It was also due to the fire and burning at the landfill that EAST contacted the US Department of Health’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) and requested that they pay a visit to the island in an attempt to conduct a preliminary health assessment on the effects that the smoke from the landfill fires may have on nearby residents. As a result, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) visited the island in late August 1996 and gathered data which is now being used to conduct a health consultation on the site, The consultation will allow ATSDR to make conclusions about public health hazards and recommendations for actions to protect the public’s health. ATSDR recommendations can contribute to a number of actions the most important being a site clean up. In late April. ATSDR upgraded the consultation to a full health assessment. The results of the health assessment are expected to be ready by the end of May 1997.