Stop burning rubbish: F.E.S.A Commissioner

By Marc Membrere 23 June 2021, 12:00PM

A burning plastic smell across Motootua, Malifa and Lelata on Monday evening was caused by a fire burning tyres and computer equipment, a dangerous waste disposal practice fire authorities say must stop.

The Samoa Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A) Commissioner Tanuvasa Petone Mauga told the Samoa Observer on Tuesday that efforts to extinguish the blaze were ongoing.

In a Facebook post on Monday evening, the F.E.S.A told the public within the Apia area from Motootua, Malifa, Aai o Niue, Tauese and the town area to bear with the smoke and smell while they tried to extinguish a rubbish fire. The fire was composed of plastics, old refrigeration equipment, electrical wiring and other waste material that was the source of the unfortunate smog and odour.

Tanuvasa told the Samoa Observer that they had received the call from neighbooring areas after five on Monday evening.

He explained that the fire started as rubbish being burned before it spread onto nearby equipment nearby such as old electronic equipment, Televisions, refrigerators and tyres.

The burning equipment caused the smell experienced on Monday evening which had also reached neighbouring villages.

The Commissioner said that rubbish burning usually demands a one vehicle response but he stated that once the firefighters arrived at the location they realised they needed backup.

They had to dig further down to extinguish the fire as it had reached equipment that was further down in the ground.

Tanuvasa said that based on reports, no house was touched by the fire and no lives were affected.

He emphasised that there is a law under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) Waste Management that prohibits the burning of rubbish.

He said that there is a landfill that rubbish should be taken to instead of burning it.

But he said burning rubbish has become a habit for many people as people usually gather the rubbish and burn it.

"Please stop burning the rubbish, use the rubbish bins beside the run and use the rubbish collection service," he said.

He had also advised families to watch out for their safety during family vacations and make sure everything is turned off before they leave their homes as electricity is the number one cause of fires. He also added to check family homes for anything that may cause a fire such as gas ovens, mosquito coils and cigarettes.

During emergencies, Tanuvasa asked the public to call 911 as early as possible; not to make posts on social media. 

By Marc Membrere 23 June 2021, 12:00PM

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