Lami's Burning


Lami dump for the last two days has not only become an inferno but a big health threat to all citizens of Suva. A lot of people think of what is happening at the dump is just a simple fire with carbon emissions into the environment. Unfortunately it is not that simple. What is happening right now is burning of all sorts of waste which has high levels of chemicals. The burning chemicals are the biggest health threat and the dump is emitting tons of poisonous chemicals into the environment. The News people are only highlighting the 'methane' problem. Methane is not so much of a problem....what is the biggest problem in this is a group of chemical compounds called DIOXIN.

Dioxin is the name generally given to a class of super-toxic chemicals, the chlorinated dioxins and furans, formed as a by-product of burning of organic chemicals and plastics that contain chlorine. It is the nastiest, most toxic man-made organic chemical; its toxicity is second only to radioactive waste. Dioxin made headlines several years ago at places such as Love Canal, where hundreds of families needed to abandon their homes due to dioxin contamination, and in Missouri , a town had to be abandoned as a result of dioxin.

Literatures and information now available all indicated that dioxin exhibits serious health effects when it reaches as little as a few parts per trillion in human body fat. Dioxin is a powerful hormone disrupting chemical. By binding to a cell's hormone receptor, it literally modifies the functioning and genetic mechanism of the cell, causing a wide range of effects, from cancer to reduced immunity to nervous system disorders to miscarriages and birth deformity. Because it literally changes the functioning of human cells, the effects can be very obvious or very subtle. Because it changes gene functions, it can cause so-called genetic diseases to appear, and can interfere with child development. There is no "threshold" dose - the tiniest amount can cause damage, and our bodies have no defense against it.

The situation right now, from what I saw from Wairua Road few minutes ago, it is terrible .... the smoke is getting thicker and darker and I would not like any one to breath any of that stuff or get near to the dump. If there are some of our people living in Lami/Delanavesi area, my advice to them is to move out from there and relocate to a safe location where the smoke does not reach. For pregnant women they MUST move away and do not get close to the place or surrounding places. The risk is extremely high and health is the biggest threat right now for people living near the area or surrounding areas where smoke can reach.

I have advised Ministry of Health to warn the general public about health problems and take SCC and Ministry of Urban Development to task and get the fire out as soon as possible.

It is terrible and we must be all warned.