Smoke from trash dump fire covers Panama’s capital

March 20, 2013

PANAMA CITY – A cloud of toxic smoke covered a large part of the Panamanian capital on Wednesday as a fire burned in the city’s largest trash dump.

“This gas emission is totally toxic. We must check the toxicity levels,” Health Vice Minister Serafín Sánchez said.

The gray cloud came after a fire broke out Tuesday in five hectares of Cerro Patacón dump – located 12 kilometers outside the city – which is “the repository of all the garbage of our capital city,” Sánchez added.

The dense cloud was slowly dissipating Wednesday morning, but caused irritation in many people according to an AFP reporter.

Health authorities urged surrounding populations to protect themselves by covering their faces with scarves and by keeping their houses closed.

Government officials suspended classes in all schools adjacent to the fire area as a preventive measure.

Health experts warned that besides immediate effects related to diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or allergies, the smoke, methane and carbon dioxide mixture releases dioxins that may be carcinogenic.

However Panama’s director of the National Civil Protection Service, Arturo Alvarado, called for calm and assured that “no toxicity” has been registered, and that “there is no reason to be alarmed.”

According to Alvarado, the carbon dioxide levels are normal as well as the quality of the oxygen at different points where they have been performing tests.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Gardeners of the forest: The danta
Pic of the Day
168 views
Pic of the Day
168 views

Gardeners of the forest: The danta

Alissa Grosskopf - October 18, 2018

Nai Conservation seeks to protect the endangered danta from growing human intervention. “We formed a collective, we believe in a…

Court rejects tax reform and asks legislators to eliminate four points
Costa Rica
993 views
Costa Rica
993 views

Court rejects tax reform and asks legislators to eliminate four points

Luis Fernando Cascante / Semanario Universidad - October 17, 2018

Costa Rica's Plenary Court has rejected the proposed tax reform bill in its current state and asked the members of…

30 protesters released from prison in Nicaragua
News
920 views
News
920 views

30 protesters released from prison in Nicaragua

AFP / The Tico Times - October 17, 2018

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega freed 30 political opponents on Monday, an action greeted with relief by human rights organizations. They…