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Beetham fire under control

Tuesday, February 4 2014

The air quality around the Beetham Landfill, Port-of-Spain and environs has stabilised following a week of toxic smog enveloping the capital city.

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) yesterday said it conducted air quality tests near the Maritime Plaza, Brian Lara Promenade, Sea Lots and the Foreshore.

“Based on a thorough analysis of all the results received to date on air quality tests, the EMA advises that the impact of the smoke has significantly minimised, and air quality has stabilised. The EMA will maintain its vigilance with regard to monitoring for any further changes,” it said. The Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) also yesterday said the fire at the landfill has been brought under control. On January 26, 12 fires were lit on the landfill causing smog to envelop Port-of-Spain causing some businesses and schools to close. SWMCOL chairman Nalini Sooklal said the landfill fire is almost 98 percent extinguished. “We are now going back to any areas that are still smouldering and doing a general reconnaissance on the area. I think we are now alright,” Sooklal said.

Sooklal said guards from the Ministry of National Security continue to patrol the landfill to ensure no malicious acts occur again. She further said the increased police patrols around the Beetham area helps secure the landfill. Sooklal said SWMCOL is in the process of replenishing their stocks used to extinguish fires, particularly film and covering materials. She reports the fire depleted their stock.

Prior to the last week’s fires, SWMCOL was stocking up on materials in readiness for spontaneous fires that occur in the dry season. Sooklal said SWMCOL is using all the standard precautions to prevent spontaneous combustion and has been ventilating the landfill to remove any methane that fuels fires.

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