Environment Minister invited to visit Vunato dumpsite

A group of people including children enter the Vunato Dump site around midday yesterday as a blaze continues to emit heavy smoke over Lautoka City. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO/FILE

THE Lautoka Residents and Ratepayers Association is calling on Minister for Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy to visit the Vunato dump site.

Association president Narayan Reddy claimed comments made by Dr Reddy that the Vunato fire was “under control” showed that he did not have first-hand information about the situation at the dump.

“We are inviting the honourable minister to please come down to Vunato and see for himself that the fire is far from under control,” Mr Reddy said.

“The minister claims smoke has reduced by 60 per cent. We want to know where he got that figure from because as far as we can see it is still emitting the same amount of smoke. The fire continues to burn ‘out of control’ and the pump that he is referring to in The Fiji Times (Friday, August 24, 2018) is being used to pump seawater into the blaze.

“How the seawater reacts with the combustible material and chemicals at the dump nobody knows.

“We need this issue addressed urgently because it is a health risk and the quality of people’s lives are at stake here.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Dr Reddy said the Vunato dump fire that has engulfed Lautoka over the past week was “under control”.

Dr Reddy added that because of the volatile nature of materials found at dump sites, Lautoka had to look for a safer method of maintaining its waste.

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