2 hectares burned in continuing fire in Calajunan dumpsite-A A +A
Thursday, January 30, 2014
FIREFIGHTERS continue to battle a fire that has been raging for three days at the more than 23-hectare Calajunan dumpsite, eating up almost two hectares of garbage.
Bureau of Fire Prevention (BFP) fire marshall Jerry Candido said the fire is “very alarming,” adding that they cannot simply put out the fire using the traditional way with water.
He said they started using cold fire liquid chemicals on Wednesday to remove the heat from the burned area dictated by fuel mostly plastic materials, methane gas and wind.
Calajunan dumpsite officer-in-charge Engr. Niel Ravena said they are now ready to cover the affected area with soil cover taken from the flood control project for suppression of oxygen that ignited the fire.
Trucks from the Department of Public Works and Highways are fielded to bring the soil cover to the dumpsite, he said.
Ravena said the fire was noticed last Monday, January 27, when children scavenged the area at the back portion of the dumpsite. There were debris of unlighted firecrackers and the children may have played with it, thereby causing the fire at the dumpsite.
Ravena said this is the second time that fire happened at the dumpsite.
The first fire happened some five years ago and was immediately contained; however, the January 27 fire is still ongoing and may last for several days if not put out immediately.
Ravena also ordered to ditch a canal and build a soil wall near the residential area. The fire area is also near the front station and administration office.
The dumpsite official said that dumping of new garbage every day is not hampered by the fire and the fresh garbage are being dump at the other side. Some 300 metric tons (MT) of collected garbage are being dumped at the site every day including garbage from the municipalities of Oton and Pavia.
Installed more than 20 years ago, the city dumpsite at Barangay Calajunan in Mandurriao district, Iloilo City is being prepared for conversion into a sanitary landfill starting this year.
Some 10 hectares are to be developed into a P300 million sanitary landfill project in fulfillment of requirements by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the World Bank.
Some 300 wastepickers at the dumpsite and members of the United Calajunan Livelihood Association (Ucla) cannot get their garbage materials from the dumpsite due to the fire.
Immaculate Junterciego of the DENR Environment Management Bureau said the local government unit is empowered to declare forced evacuation in the barangay and neighboring areas if the fire is not contained immediately. The local government is also empowered to prohibit entry of unauthorized persons to the dumpsite.
Residents of nearby Barangay Sooc have started complaining of air pollution and particulate matters arising from the burned dumpsite.
Juntarciego said the residents are enjoined to wear masks because of air pollution.