Tutong - More than half of the approximately four million used tyres stockpiled at Bukit Udal Dump Site in Tutong District were believed to have gone up in smoke.
The Sunday Bulletin learnt the extent of the damage yesterday as firefighters said they hoped to end their round-the-clock operation since the blaze broke out on February 3, 2013.
Speaking to the Sunday Bulletin, Minister of Development, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Suyoi bin Hj Osman said he hoped a similar incident will not occur. A private contractor has been awarded a contract to oversee the operation of the site.
The Fire and Rescue Department has set up an operation camp at the site.
Small clouds of smoke can still be seen in the area.
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Suyoi said the site, which has been designated as a dump site for used tyres, is still accepting used tyres.
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi, along with officials from the Ministry of Development, visited the site of the fire yesterday. Also present were a member of the Legislative Council, YB Hj Ramli bin Hj Lahit; as well as officials from the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, District Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and Royal Brunei Police Force.
Due to the air pollution which was found to be above normal level but within safe limits, he urged residents living near the dump site to minimise outdoor activities and if required, especially children, to wear masks to prevent exposure to the smoke.
An officer from the Fire and Rescue Department said that it was not an easy task to put out the fire.
The Fire and Rescue Department employed every tactic needed, including the construction of dykes, to stop the fire from spreading, he said.
The approach seemed to work and the firefighters were now putting out remaining flames and smoke coming out from the ashes.
Concerned over the health of the people in the area, the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation is monitoring the air quality, particularly particulate matter (PM10) and volatile compounds within a specific radius of the Bukit Udal Dump Site.
The particulate matter and volatile compounds detected in the atmosphere were found higher than normal but still within the safe limit according to the USEPA allowable exposure safe limit standards for 24 hours.
The "smoky" air condition, however, is expected to improve over this next few days with the upcoming good weather conditions.
As a Standard procedure and precautionary measure, however, the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, Ministry of Development distributed masks to schools within a specific radius of the Bukit Udal Durnp Site. These masks are encouraged to be used by schoolchildren in the school compound when doing outdoor activities.
The public, especially the nearby residents, are advised to stay away from the burning area and to refrain from conducting any open burning that may worsen the air quality.
The public will be kept informed of the air quality situation through the local radio and television network. Information on the air quality can also be obtained at the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation's website.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin