By Nicole Carr
2 February 2018

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands (WSB-TV) – A trip along the winding mountain countryside in Saint Thomas reveals scenes that are not scattered across network news shows anymore.

Tarps cover the homes of people fortunate enough to have a promise of federal aid. Music equipment that used to amplify voices from a Sunday morning choir dangles from a church ceiling. A visitor can look straight through it, like a dollhouse. Vehicles with drowned engines remain parked along random roadways, power lines are entangled and personal belonging are piled up waiting for pickup.

“A lot of people lost everything, like me,” said Kenneth Turnbull, softly kicking a piece of plywood from in front of his multi-unit childhood home. “I lost everything out of my home.”

So for many on the island, Home Depot’s decision to destroy its entire stock of merchandise following Hurricanes Irma and Maria — rather than give it to those in need — seemed especially cruel.

The company crushed one million pounds worth of goods, according to Waste Management records obtained by Channel 2 Action News. They were sent to a local landfill and claimed on the company’s insurance — rather than sorted for hurricane survivors.

One million pounds of merchandise at the damaged Home Depot in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, 26 October 2017. Instead of being used to help reconstruct the island after hurricanes Irma and Maria, it was sent to the Bovoni Landfill and crushed. Photo: U.S. Virgin Islands Daily News

One million pounds of merchandise from the damaged Home Depot in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, 26 October 2017. Instead of being used to help reconstruct the island after hurricanes Irma and Maria, it was sent to the Bovoni Landfill and crushed. Photo: U.S. Virgin Islands Daily News

The company doesn’t dispute the destruction but, citing liability concerns, insisted to Channel 2 Action News that no other options were available.

“That was the easiest thing to do.” said Turnbull. “Was it the best thing? No. I don’t think it was the best thing.”

Like everything else on this Caribbean island, Home Depot’s St. Thomas store sustained major damage after Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the island last September. Ten HVAC systems were ripped from the rooftop, the material covering the roof was soaked and some merchandise sustained major water damage.

But a post-hurricane photo taken behind the store began circulating on Facebook last fall. It showed a dock full of products that appeared to be in good condition, and wrapped in plastic.

“I was like, ‘They can’t be throwing that away can they?’” remembered Brian O’Connor, a reporter with the U.S. Virgin Islands Daily News. “This has got to be a weird Facebook rumor.”

It wasn’t. [more]

Home Depot destroys 1 million pounds of supplies in wake of hurricane

1 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    This is very common. Supermarkets toss out millions of tons of food PER DAY, refusing to give a large percentage of this away (there are sometimes agreements with feed lots and so forth to accept some of this food). Go behind any supermarket and look in their trash bins.

    The same thing happens with materials, raw products and 'scraps' - it's just tossed out. We live in a highly disposable society. Farmers destroy 'excessive crops and harvests' because it's what they're paid to do. Manufactures toss out perfectly usable products to manage 'marketing demands' (and insurance claims).

    What people do not realize is that they are not only a part of that society - they are just as disposable themselves and have the same valuation as scrap.

    Our democracy, freedom, 'rights', privileges, etc., are all a sham - even our very lives.

    This is what really underlies the crimes committed against us by our society and civilization, industry and leaders. We are useless connedsumers and can be just as easily tossed onto the scrap heap ourselves at a moments notice.  

 

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