THE EDITOR, Sir:
Over the last few years, the fires at the Retirement dump have become more noticeable because of the amount of smoke accompanied by such.
The smoke usually reaches as far as the western end of the Bogue Village community, i.e., the section closest to the Bogue Highway and directly across from the National Water Commission Bogue Sewage Treatment Facility.
This was the case in the fire at the dump that took place between December 31, 2011 and January 9, 2012. The same has been the case in another such occurrence starting October 7, 2012 to today.
The smoke is most noticeable in Bogue Village at nights and early mornings, between the hours of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The fact that the smoke is most noticeable in the early mornings is possibly caused by the fall in atmospheric temperatures that results in the smoke becoming 'trapped' in the cooler, more dense air. This thereby reduces the rate at which the smoke moves out to sea.
The fact that the prevailing winds are from west to east, with the Retirement dump located in the east and Bogue Village located west of the dump, only adds to the problem. A thick line of smoke is usually seen stretching across the entire horizon from east to west as evidence of this. This has now become a feature of the landscape in early mornings. The smoke can usually been seen blanketing the community from as far as Westgate Hills and Queens Drive (Top Road) in the early mornings (4 o'clock to 6 o'clock).
The constant smoke causes great respiratory distress, asthma attacks, severe allergic reactions, ear infections and blocked sinuses for all in the household. Besides the obvious severe health effects, there is also the concern related to environmental pollutants being inhaled from the smoke. This is of concern, as the landfill is used indiscriminately for dumping chemicals, old appliances, lead batteries and other potentially carcinogenic materials and items with the potential for heavy metal pollution.
Serious health issues
I am, therefore, imploring the authorities responsible to ensure that such fires are prevented, where possible, and handled expeditiously to prevent serious health issues to the members of surrounding communities and also to prevent environmental damage and pollution.
A point to note is that no longer are landfills considered environmentally acceptable means of handling wastes because of the effect of methane gas production from such facilities on greenhouse gas emissions, the potential for soil leaching, groundwater contamination, and the issues highlighted above.
It is the expectation that the relevant authorities will now see the human and individual impact that such fires cause and will be moved for humanitarian, moral, conscientious, professional, environmental, public health and other reasons to act swiftly on the matter.
Bogue Village, St James