Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, says efforts to contain the smoke nuisance at the Riverton City Landfill in St. Andrew, are progressing steadily.
“Things have progressed significantly in a positive direction. The nuisance is controlled. The column of smoke that exists, whatever remains is now quite thin and only confined to a small area on the landfill itself,” he told JIS News in an interview on Monday February 13.
All fires have also been extinguished, according to an ODPEM release, and ground command operations are now in phase two, which involves further cooling, complete abatement of the smoke nuisance and full restoration of operations at the site.
The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, in collaboration with various agencies, has been working to contain the fire and institute measures to abate the smoke nuisance since the blaze started on February 6.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, had reported during a press conference at the National Solid Waste Management Authority’s (NSWMA) Landfill site office on Friday (February 10), that the fire had been difficult to control, as a result of intense wind conditions.
He informed that after initial attempts to extinguish the blaze proved futile, a special committee comprising the ODPEM; the Local Government Ministry; Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Jamaica Fire Brigade; and the Ministry of Health was activated to effect an emergency response.
“The Fire Brigade has kept a small detachment on the site to facilitate quick response to any emergency that may arise. There is none now, but we’re just taking precautions to have a standby team there and the covering operations (covering area with soil) will continue until we remove all the smoke in its entirety,” Mr. Jackson told JIS News.
Turning to the air quality, Mr. Jackson said this remains quite good. “As we go into each day the readings are getting better and better,” he said, noting that it never got to a stage where it was critical.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter