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Riverton fire had negative impact on air quality

Posted: April 3, 2012

The fire at the Riverton solid waste disposal site had a negative impact on the ambient air quality in Kingston and St. Andrew and Portmore regions.

That is the finding of a probe into the air quality by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) during the period of the fire from February 6 to 13.

The data collected from the area around the garbage disposal site revealed that air quality within a 1 km radius was at very high risk, while distances up to 2 km saw high risk.

The Health Ministry is to determine the impact of volatile organic compounds, samples of which were collected and analyzed.

NEPA has recommended that the National Solid Waste Management Authority, improve its management at all solid waste disposal sites, inclusive of the Riverton disposal site to prevent the reoccurrence of major fires.

The review is written in technical language that does not correspond to the way the average person speaks about concerns regarding the fire.

For example, the review recommends that monitoring at all particulate matter response sites established during this event should continue for at least 1 year.

Further it says there should be  permanent air monitoring sites installed by the NSWMA, around the Riverton disposal site based on so called modeled air dispersion data for a worse-case fire event.

New particulate matter monitoring devices should be procured by the Natural Resource Conservation Authority for deployment in other KMA locations.

Additionally  monitoring equipment should be procured and further deployed for the sampling of additional pollutants especially those in the category of persistent organic pollutants (POPS).

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