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Fresh Probe Into Dump Fire

SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

FIREFIGHTERS are investigating whether “products” are being added to the fires at the New Providence Landfill after smoke began billowing once again from the waste facility.

Fire Chief Walter Evans said the reemergence of the thick, black, toxic smoke at the dump led investigators to believe that someone might be adding trash to the two existing fires.

“Both fires at the dump were smouldering as well as the fire at the Sludge Facility of the Water and Sewerage Corporation, but we got a call that smoke was once again coming from that area,” he said.

“We cannot say for sure at this point but we are investigating whether or not products are being added. It is something we are definitely looking into. The smoke had subsided and now it is back, but we are sure that we will have the all the fires out in a few days.”

Firefighters have been battling three aggressive fires at the New Providence Land fill for almost a month.

Two of the fires are in separate areas at the landfill and the third fire began at the Sludge Facility of the water and Sewerage Corporation.

Last week, fumes from the fires forced the closure of two schools – St Johns College and H O Nash Junior High School.

The week before, officials from both Aquinas College at Gladstone Road and the Meridian School at Unicorn Village, just off JFK Drive, confirmed that the air quality was too poor to allow students to continue attending classes.

Calls placed to the Department of Environmental Health Services for an update on the matter were not returned up to press time.

Last week, deputy director Thomasina Wilson said that the fire and thick smoke in several areas was no reason for residents to evacuate their homes.

Ms Wilson said people needed only to keep their windows closed, adding that officials saw no need for tests to be carried out to determine the toxicity of the air.

Comments

GrassRoot 5 years, 6 months ago

Maybe Ms. Wilson wants to swap apartment with me to get a good smoke out of it? Of course this stuff is toxic, is she living under a rock?

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GrassRoot 5 years, 6 months ago

besides that I doubt that the Government has the capacity to conduct such toxicity tests. Keep pushing papers. And maybe parts of the Cabinet have an economic interests in the fire going on, it will increase public support for their waste to energy plans and their personal pension planning.

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BahamianAway 5 years, 6 months ago

Grassroots I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that you have no formal training in regards to landfills. I am positive that Mrs. Wilson has more knowledge about these matters than you, therefore if she says the fumes aren't toxic then I believe I will go with her educated analysis as opposed to your "grassroot" opinion.

Furthermore, I have it on good authority that the government officials are doing their best to get the situation at the landfill under control. However as usual when dealing with government assets it always comes down to politics.

So I suggest before you start commenting on things that you have no credible knowledge about, you may want to do some research.

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newcitizen 5 years, 6 months ago

How would Mrs. Wilson have any idea at all whether the smoke is toxic, she hasn't tested it! She has no educated analysis, she is just guessing.

I'm sure Mrs. Wilson knows as much about landfills as Perry Christie knows about finance.

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 6 months ago

Most idiotic statement ever by BA. I would LOVE for an independent analysis to be done by a non-government organization. I think people will be shocked and the government will be caught out in a bold face lie about the hazards of this fire. They are just saying what the people who drink that yellow koolaid are willing to hear...don't worry man...just a bit of harmless smoke...carry on...take a nice deep breath, you'll be OK. Bullcrap!!

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BahamianAway 5 years, 6 months ago

I can assure you and speak emphatically on the fact that Mrs. Wilson has a Master's degree in solid waste management (which I can bet you know nothing about so you might want to Google what that degree entails). As for Mr. Christie I cannot speak on what his educational background is in finance but I would suggest you get some correct information before coming on a public forum speaking about someone.

That is how people's reputations get muddied.

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ohdrap4 5 years, 6 months ago

Degrees don't make anybody right. Your doctor still requires blood tests from you despite all their degrees. So she would back up her statements with facts. Appeal to authority ( or degrees) is a fallacy-- check that on google.

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BahamianAway 5 years, 6 months ago

Most likely you probably don't have a degree, because if you did you would know exactly what getting one entails. Furthermore using your analogy if a doctor examined you and determined from his/her exam what your problem is most likely he/she wouldn't require any additional testing unless they were unsure as to the diagnosis. Maybe you've probably never been to a doctor either. LOL- uneducated people.

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ohdrap4 5 years, 6 months ago

the woman is just singing for her supper

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John 5 years, 6 months ago

The time is now for government to make a fast and hard decision on this dump fire matter. Is there a need to relocate the dump and either put it in a less centrally located area to minimize the effect of fires and the stench that emanates from it? Or even remove it off the island of New Providence completely? Can the fires be properly controlled by constantly soaking trash and debris stored there with water from the nearby Harold pond? If the fires are being intentionally lit can the access to the dump be more restricted? THe effects of thick black smoke constantly billowing for weeks at a time must have long term effects on peoples health. It surely has an effect on their comfort and some may not even feel safe having to sleep in homes not too far from bright orange flames leaping into the air.

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voltairehumor 5 years, 6 months ago

the smoke from garbage has dioxins which cause cancer. Children are extremely vulnerable to this.

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BahamianAway 5 years, 6 months ago

The environment in which we live naturally produces dioxins. I suggest you hold your breath in the event that breathing the air causes you to get cancer.

I just love how Bahamians are quick to jump on a bandwagon with no credible information. Do you know how many Bahamians burned garbage in their backyards with no thought to the environmental issue or their own health and safety. But now suddenly a fire at the landfill and everyone has an issue.

The fire is localized to the household waste section of the landfill which does not produce toxic fumes when burned. If the fire was in C&D or any other area then you would have a problem.

Please do some research before jumping on a bandwagon that will lead you straight off Clifton Pier.

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voltairehumor 5 years, 6 months ago

Please state your source for the fallacy which is the following statement: " household waste section of the landfill which does not produce toxic fumes when burned."
The expensive air filtration system at all the plants that burn garbage in the world must be for show too.

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BahamianAway 5 years, 6 months ago

Household waste or residental/domestic waste is defined as garbage that contains food scraps, clothing, packaging from home items, newspapers, and any other rubbish created from the day to day of a normal home. This is then broken down into a sub-section called hazardous household waste which includes items such as aerosol cans, cleaning solvents, pesticides, and other such harmful like substances.

If the landfill is operating as it should those items would be separated from the regular household waste. And the last time I checked burning food, newspapers, and clothing does not create toxic fumes. It creates CO2 which is naturally occurring in the environment and is actually beneficial to the continuing of the green cycle.

Again I ask you... please stop commenting on something you clearly have no knowledge about.

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newcitizen 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't think you are taking your own advice about commenting on things, which clearly, you have no knowledge about.

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BahamianAway 5 years, 6 months ago

This is the most sensible things said in regards to the landfill. Keep in mind New Providence was not a city that was laid in with plans for long term growth. When the landfill was originally built it was "away" from the population, but obviously with the growth of our country that is no longer the case.

Truthfully they need to look at possibly moving the landfill to a remote cay and start some kind of recycling centre. Each island can then look at having a short term storage facility on that island and at an appointed time have their garbage barged to the designated cay for recycling. They then can even look into controlled incineration of household trash- things that burn without toxic fumes.

That really is the only sensible way to look at it, New Providence creates to much waste on a daily to look at moving the landfill. Where would it be moved to- New Providence is being developed at a steady pace that eventually will leave land scarce. A proper landfill requires several acres to function effectively and effciently.

It is hard to regulate access to the landfill because of the location it is essentially open at all sides for anyone to access. They have security but people are still finding ways to get out there. There are many people that scavenge the landfill and depend on it for their livelihood and that is also a big issue for security.

Long term the smoke can have harmful effects in terms of breathing especially persons that are asthmatic. But based on where the landfill fire is situated the smoke is not toxic. The landfill is broken up into areas- household waste, construction waste, tires and items that burn toxic. The current fire is restricted to the household waste side.

I really wish people would get their information from credible sources before posting...

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newcitizen 5 years, 6 months ago

Feel free to post your credible sources.

Just wondering who you think sorts through each bag of 'house hold waste' to take out anything toxic and hazardous? I really don't think you've ever even been to a landfill.

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BahamianAway 5 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever been to the landfill... Go and spend a day out there and then come back and let me know how it goes. In fact when you do ask for Mrs. Wilson who is out there everyday- maybe she can give you a tour and explain how the landfill functions.

Oh and let her show you the old side of the landfill before this new side was built back in the mid 90's under the consult group from Canada. And see how different the two actually are.

And when you are done...then come back and ask me about credible sources. Don't let my moniker of BahamianAway mislead you. I am very much apart of Bahamian society and know exactly what I speak about.

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carlh57 5 years, 6 months ago

Ms. Wilson, your statements are inaccurate, uninformed and blatant ignorance. In a report published by Waste Management World (leading waste company the the world), they emphatically state (and i am quoting directly from their report below):

"Atmospheric emissions from landfill fires are often dismissed as a nuisance. The following are two examples of just how serious the ‘nuisance’ is: Dioxin emissions: (remember the Bhopal disasterr?) The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) considers that for the foreseeable future, non-industrial, uncontrolled combustion, mainly comprised of landfill fires and illegal barrel burning, will remain the most significant source of persistant organic pollutants (POPs) in the form of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCCDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCCFs) in Europe (Thornton, 2002). Gases and Vapors: landfill fires emit a toxic cocktail of ‘Most Wanted’ fugitive gases including formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxides and many others (OEPA, 2006). Visible smoke might not be visible since compacted waste acts as a good particulate filter, but fugitive gases are able to percolate towards the surface. Emitted smoke is a hazard and has resulted in the imposition of Civil Aviation Authority ‘no-fly’ zones. A particular problem with smoke, which is largely unburned carbon, is particles that have become activated, in the form of an adsorbent, with a huge appetite for mopping-up ‘most wanted’ contaminants. Very small particles, known as Sub PM2.5s (smaller than 2.5 millionths of a meter in diameter) are capable of remaining airborne for days, and together with adsorbed contaminants will pass directly into the bloodstream once inhaled."

So, Ms. Wilson, can you, or any other government representative now state with a straight face that these fires are harmless?! Get informed...educate yourself.

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