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Smoke from dump fire affecting several Jamaican parishes


CMC

Smoke from dump fire affecting several Jamaican parishes

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KINGSTON (CMC) – A blanket of smoke continues to affect the quality of air across the Corporate Area and beyond as a fire fighters try to control a massive blaze at the Riverton City landfill.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says the agency has been trying to capture accurate data on the quality of air, that has deteriorated since the fire started on Wednesday.

“We have industry monitors that we get data from as well as our own monitoring,” said Steven Panton, acting manager of the Air Quality Management Branch at NEPA.

“We see that the coverage is much more than the last fire we had, and as far as Papine has been affected by the smoke, the intensity of the fire would have caused that as well as the strong winds.”

The smoke has affected not only the Corporate Area but the central parishes of St. Catherine and Clarendon

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has advised the public to exercise extreme caution when traversing the Spanish Town Road area in the vicinity of the Riverton City Landfill. 

Meanwhile, government officials in an effort to limit the fallout from the ongoing emergency sparked by the out-of-control fire, is issuing an apology.  

Colin Fagan, junior Local Government Minister appealed to owners of heavy equipment to make them available in the effort to contain the fire.

As the fire continued to spread, classes were suspended and several businesses closed.

The Ministry of Health confirmed reports that several persons fell ill due to smoke inhalation. As a result health centers in the Corporate area and in Portmore, in the neighbouring parish of St Catherine, will have extended hours this weekend.

During a media briefing on Friday, the Ministry of Health said equipment such as nebulizers and oxygen tanks were being sourced from other areas in the country to help hospitals that are responding to increased demand for care.

“The air quality information has been collected and is being collated and we will have the results out tomorrow. With respect to the Hospitals responding to increased demand for care, we have had reports that the Spanish Town Hospital and the Children’s hospital have been seeing increased numbers of patients,” said Dr Sonia Copeland, Acting Director of the Health Promotion and Protection Division in the Health Ministry.

And the Jamaica Fire Brigade is estimating that it will take another three days before the situation at the Riverton City Dump is brought under control.

Divisional head for Kingston, Shaun Martin, says several factors, including weather conditions must be taken into consideration.

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