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Residents seek redress from effects of Riverton fire

Published:Saturday | May 5, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

PUBLIC DEFENDER Earl Witter says his office is currently conducting a forensic investigation into formal complaints by residents in Portmore and the Corporate Area about the ill effects of the recent noxious emissions from the fire at the Riverton landfill.

He told The Gleaner this week that his office was awaiting medical certificates or reports from some of the 24 complainants.

Witter said he was not conducting the probe on the basis of just complaints of health problems, but noted that the complainants would have to produce evidence in the form of medical reports that linked the Riverton fire to the reported health issues.

He said his office would make claims on the occupier of the dump - the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) or the attorney general seeking compensation for the alleged aggrieved residents.

"We are getting formal responses from the NSWMA in course of our investigation," he pointed out.

"We are not passing any judgement or arriving at any conclusions until we have received and considered, as forensic investigators, what the NSWMA has to say about all this sorry business."

He said as part of the probe, his office would examine the results of an air-quality study done by the National Environment and Planning Agency during the massive February Riverton landfill fire.

The study revealed that carcinogenic pollutants were detected, showing alarming levels - three times that of World Health Organization standards.