Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, is expressing confidence that smoke at the Riverton City Landfill will be contained within another two days.
Speaking at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, today (February 15), he said conditions are “significantly improved and continuing to get better."
Mr. Jackson explained that the operations are currently in phase two, which is a five-day operation that began at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday (February 12) , to address the remaining smoke nuisance, and to continue covering operations at the landfill.
Phase one of the operations included extinguishing fires on the landfill within 72 hours, and bringing the smoke problem, which was affecting much of the greater portion of the Kingston Metropolitan Area and sections of St. Catherine, under some amount of control, he noted.
“We met the 72 hour timeline, and there are all indications that the five-day timeline will be met,” the Director General told journalists.
“We recognise and share with the general public that as we seek to bring this matter to an end, there will be periods of discomfort, certainly for members of the public within the immediate confines of the dump (Riverton, Calalloo Mews, Gregory Park, Waterford, Duhaney Park and sections of Pembroke Hall and the foot of Red Hills) and persons traversing those areas,” Mr. Jackson explained.
This, he said, is primarily the result of the prevailing windy conditions. “It is significantly troubling late at night and early mornings, because water vapour particles tend to trap the smoke within that vicinity,” he noted.
Emphasising the improvement in conditions, Mr. Jackson pointed out that when the fires started, the aerial extent of the problem ranged from Washington Boulevard to Constant Spring, New Kingston, and sections of Portmore. “Today, the problem really is now residing within the immediate confines of the dump, and that signals progress, and we will continue to apply the necessary resources required to bring this to an end,” the Director General said.
“We have been on the site during the course of yesterday (and) today, and what we intend to do is carry out further covering operations. We recognise that there are persons who are affected, and we continue to recommend that they follow the health precautions, and utilise the help hotline,” he said.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter