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May 26, 2009

Dumpsite Fire in Belize City extinguished…

Story PictureThe fire at Belize City’s garbage dump site is extinguished. Last week Friday, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) promised the fire would be out by today, Tuesday. Well NEMO kept its promise and this afternoon, it handed over control of Belize City’s dumpsite back to the council. Melvin Hulse, Minister of NEMO, explained to the media what they did to finally get the situation under control. He also said that the millions of gallons of water that saturated the toxic waste will not reach the sea.

Melvin Hulse, Minister of NEMO
“The site is now being given back to City Council and they manage it. So when we as the organization NEMO, we hand it over—you all understand what is handing over? You look around, you do your thing; there is no longer a disaster out here. If a smoke come out here right now, that is not a disaster, that is a problem. The City Council will manage it. We assigned the National Fire Service and the Fire chief over there, they got designated areas, they focus on that. CISCO, which is dredge, being assisted by two bulldozer and an excavator, they focus on that bulk which is about twenty feet of garbage; focus on that. And you give and take a million and odd gallons a day to work on that. The other area that is more—in a more accessible manner and could be handled, then we brought in about twenty odd trucks, we got in the private sector with bulldozer, excavator, tractorvator; put in infrastructure, identify the hot spots so we’re able to cover them and compact them and extinguish because with a fire, fundamentally water is not the solution.”

Jose Sanchez
“You had millions of gallons of water being pumped into this site. Is there any cause for concern about the water running off into the sea, health wise?”

Melvin Hulse
“Off the hand, I’m certain that the Ministry of the Environment will come and assess it but I do not anticipate that being a major problem for two fundamental reasons. One, we have about twenty feet of garbage stocked high over twenty-five acres, which absorbed a lot of it and a lot of the material there and two, because this was always already a catchments basin. So you have in itself, this was already a lowland and with rims around it and because of the existent of the bond that was done by the Port of Belize, that also minimized the possibility of if just reaching to the sea so I can’t see that happening.”

Col. George Lovell, Coordinator, NEMO
“You see these works that’s currently being done here, this is our part of leaving the area in a state where the City Council can now manage it in the event of a fire reoccurring. We are not putting back those grids that the minister talked about that was once there and so we will now leave them with a dumpsite that can be manageable quite easy.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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