PHILIPSBURG–The Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs VSA is in the process of reviewing the terms of reference and the criteria that has been put into place regarding the management of the landfill in Philipsburg.
The Ministry is also concerned about the health and safety of landfill workers and will look into the safety protocols in place, it was stated in a press release on Friday.
The Ministry said it shares the concerns of the public regarding the negative impact the fires at the landfill are having on the overall long-term and short-term health of residents.
“With a second fire in a short period of time, clearly something is wrong with the way the dump is being managed,” Health Minister Emil Lee said in the release. “St. Maarten definitely needs a structural long-term solution, but on the short-term improvements are necessary. The health consequences of repeated fires are unacceptable.
“Apparently, either the terms of reference and scope of work for the management of the dump is flawed or the execution of the dump management plan is flawed. Either way, a change is required to protect the health of the people.”
The Ministry said residents should exercise caution and try to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals released into the air by the fire. “While the management of the dump falls under the Ministry of [Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure – Ed.] VROMI, the negative consequences on the health of the population falls under the Ministry of VSA and as such the Ministry has a responsibility to look into what can be done to protect the health of the population,” it was stated in the release.
Source: Daily Herald
Health Ministry reviewing landfill terms of reference