SUCKER GARDEN–Nature Foundation suggests that residents, especially those in the path of the landfill fire and smoke, wear facemasks to protect themselves from the fumes. Some 100 masks will be given out free to residents to aid in health safety.
“As we still wait for action to occur regarding the management of our solid waste issues, we encourage especially expectant mothers and those with a weakened immune system to wear facemasks to reduce the risk caused by the landfill,” said Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
The fire at the landfill has been burning for more than a month now, resulting in significant negative health effects for residents and visitors alike.
“We realize that many may be going through financial difficulties after Hurricane Irma, so we will make 100 masks freely available on a first-come-first-serve basis,” he said.
The Foundation has continuously communicated to decision-makers its results, findings, recommendations and suggestions related to the burning dump.
“It is the hope of the Nature Foundation that a solution to this serious health issue is arrived at urgently. In the meantime, we suggest the wearing of these masks,” said Bervoets.
To secure a facemask, contact Nature Foundation via Facebook or call +1-721-544-4267.
Previous studies on air quality and soil composition at the landfill have recorded positive results for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals. Of particular concern are arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper because of the human health effects. Particularly lead, arsenic and copper can be quite toxic to humans and have been shown to cause some forms of cancer, said Bervoets.
These same chemicals are released into the atmosphere through either smoke or falling fine ash and therefore pose a significant health risk to the community. Landfill fires also release high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) into the atmosphere, which causes additional health effects through depriving the body of oxygen.
A survey conducted by the Foundation found that all districts have been affected by smoke from the landfill fires.
Of everyone surveyed, 35 per cent frequently experience negative effects throughout the year from fumes coming from the landfill; 50 per cent complained about trouble breathing due to the fumes coming from the landfill; 73 per cent mentioned burning in their eyes, nose or throat; 50 per cent experienced burning, watering eyes because of the toxic fumes; 30 per cent experienced nausea combined with vomiting; 50 per cent experienced uncontrolled coughing; and 40 per cent have sought medical assistance because of health complications arising from the fumes caused by the landfill.