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Smoke from Beetham Landfill Fires affecting POS & Environs

Please be advised that the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Solid and Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) are the lead authorities with regard to the Beetham Landfill. Therefore, members of the public are advised to adhere to notices dispatched by these agencies ONLY.

 

At this time, there has not been any official release stating that schools and/or businesses in the Port of Spain and Environs area should be dismissed or closed.

 

However, citizens should be guided by the following safety tips for their own personal health and safety:

 

·        If you suffer from respiratory and related illnesses such as asthma, be vigilant about taking your medications as prescribed, and keep then on hand should you need to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

·        Do not consume any food or drinks which are opened and have been exposed to smoke, please keep in mind that this may not always be visible.

·        Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables purchased from outdoor markets which have been exposed to smoke pollution

·        Avoid dense smoke polluted areas

·        If you have been exposed to high levels of smoke and /or experience any of the  signs and symptoms listed , seek medical attention

·        Remain calm and tap into media sources periodically such as social media, TV and radio to be informed on any pertinent bulletins.

·        If you are driving with your windows down, keep your car well ventilated, this means keep your windows all the way down, so that smoke will not get trapped inside. If you are using your air condition, please ensure that it is set to circulate internal air until you are clear of the smoke cloud.

·        If you cannot leave a smoky area, reduce your physical activity, and if possible protect yourself using masks. It is important to note however that not all masks will be able to offer protection.  Recommended masks as those with “particulate respirators” such as those with the words “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “N100” printed on it. You may also use a “P100” mask.

·        Choose a mask that has two straps that go around your head. DO NOT choose a mask with only one strap or with straps that just hook over the ears.  Choose a size that will fit over your nose and under your chin. It should seal tightly to your face. These masks do not come in sizes that fit young children.

·        Do not use bandanas (wet or dry), paper or surgical masks, or tissue held over the mouth and nose.

The following is a summarised list of some signs and symptoms that you are being affected by smoke inhalation:

 

·        Cough

·        Shortness of breath

·        Headache

·        Throat irritation

·        Headache

·        Soot found in airway passages  such as nostrils or throat

·        Increased secretion of mucus, this can be clear or black

·        Hoarseness or noisy breathing

·        Swelling and/or constriction of upper airways such as nostrils and nasal passages

·        Red , irritated eyes

·        Changes in skin colour

·        Nausea and vomiting

·        Changes in mental status (Confusion, fainting, seizures, and coma are all potential complications following smoke inhalation)

Should you experience one of more of the above symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately.

 

Affected persons can call the following contact numbers for more information:

·        SWMCOL - 625-6678

·        EMA -628-8042 / 8044-5, for the help desk - ext 2254

 

ENDS

 

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