Firefighters and the contractor – Joint Venture BK International Inc and Puran Brothers Disposal Services — managing the site, are unable to extinguish the blaze, which started on the evening of Sunday, December 20, 2015, a statement from the Ministry of Communities revealed.
It was noted that this is primarily because the contractor did not adhere to the Operations Management Requirements as stipulated under Section 15.6 of the signed agreement regarding fire prevention and firefighting.
Heavy grey smoke is currently polluting the atmosphere as a result of the burning of disposed unsorted waste. The site, which has been operating as a dumpsite from day one, is closed and can only be reopened when the situation is addressed.
“This unhealthy situation does not surprise the Ministry, owing to the poor management techniques and inadequate security measures, among others employed by the contractor,” the statement noted.
The Ministry further noted that the aforementioned factors together with the landfill not being vented and the failure to provide daily earth cover have contributed to the significant buildup of methane gas, which when ignited continues to burn in an uncontrollable manner.
During the initial stages of the fire the contractor was assisted by the Guyana Fire Service, which requested the contractor to provide, in accordance with the conditions of the contract, additional resources needed to enhance their capacity to control the blaze.
These included the following:
- Three high capacity pumps (6 inches diameter) to enhance the flooding of the site in several locations where the fire exists.
- Two heavy-duty crane, drag-line or long boom excavators to excavate the waste pile in an effort to reach the bottom where the fire may be located.
- Water Hoses (6 inches diameter and 450-ft in length).
“Despite numerous engagements with the assigned contractor the supply of the items was delayed. This hampered the Guyana Fire Service’s capacity to arrest the fire,” the Ministry revealed.
It was noted that the Ministry of Communities is monitoring the situation closely since it is aware that residents of the neighbouring communities are being adversely affected.
The Ministry of Communities is partnering with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure in an effort to bring urgent relief to affected communities.
Meanwhile, following a site visit by representatives of the Ministries of Communities and Public Infrastructure on December 29, 2015, a temporary holding area located at Haags Bosch has been identified to accommodate waste generated within the Municipality of Georgetown and its immediate environs. This is expected to be operationalized shortly.