Municipality responds to landfill fire

2017-08-16 06:02

MSUNDUZI Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the fire was extinguished on Sunday afternoon and they had received follow-up action on Monday morning as a result of some hot spots, which were also extinguished.

“The cause of the fire has not been determined at this stage although the media report says it was started by “smouldering fur trimmings” - this needs to be investigated further, as currently there is no evidence to prove that.

“In the process of putting out the fire any evidence would have been destroyed. Perhaps the media can assist by providing the proof, and witnesses,” said Mafumbatha.

Mafumbatha said fires at landfill sites is one of the risks associated with the landfill site operations and is a common occurrence.

She said landfill fires vary from minor outbreaks on the surface to large incidents with uncontrolled atmospheric emissions arising from these fires.

“Landfills are largely comprised of combustibles such as plastic and textiles, which maintain their fuel value into virtual perpetuity. While measures are in place to limit the occurrence of landfill fires, and to ensure swift response to reported outbreaks, it would be near impossible to ensure that similar incidents never reoccur as they can be caused by surface heat source contact to deep seated spontaneous combustion.

“The landfill site is an important and strategic asset and must not be treated lightly. With the Umgungundlovu District Municipality the city is looking at alternatives for a new site. This entails costs as well as a myriad legislative, geotechnical, environmental and economic challenges and will take time.”

Mafumbatha said to close the landfill site one can only argue that it would be folly at this time as the landfill site is a “strategic jewel in the city crown”.

This is after people started signing a petition to close the landfill, which garnered more than 300 signatures.

“It is centrally situated and costs to dispose of refuse are minimal. Closing the landfill site can only be done if an alternative site is readily available.

As no such site exists it would mean transporting our refuse to another district or city, and the costs of waste management could at least quadruple.”

“The city will meet with anyone in an open and transparent manner to listen to residents’ frustrations and concerns, whenever they feel the need to express them.

All constructive and positive suggestions will be welcomed.

“In due course the city will release a comprehensive plan to deal with the challenges of the landfill site, its importance, alternative plans and a comprehensive waste management plan.”

Mafumbatha also thanked everyone who played a role in extinguishing the fire as well as the public who rallied together to keep the firefighters hydrated during the fire.

- Supplied


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