“Sub-surface” fire rages at Walvis Bay dump site

A sub-surface fire, that burns uncontrollably deep in the bellows of the Walvis Bay waste disposal site, is the cause of the thick blanket of smoke that covers large parts of Walvis Bay during the night.

For the past three weeks many residents in the Hermes suburb, as well as other neighbourhoods bordering the central business area, have to deal with respiratory responses to the smoke. Dozens already had to consult a medical practitioner.
The smoke also results in some homes being covered by a smog-like substance that has to be cleaned regularly, according to one Hermes resident. A picture below shows the smoke in the early morning air.
“We could not get answers the past two or three weeks. Apart from the smoke that covers my home in a smelly layer of smog, I have to drink medicine to ease the congestion in my lungs. We want answers”, said one agitated resident.
When Namib Times lodged inquiries, municipal officials explained the fire broke out some three weeks ago. The fire at first raged on the surface of the dump site, but then spread to layers deep under the surface where it is difficult to extinguish.
The smog problem usually develops during the night when there is either little wind or when the wind direction change, blowing the smoke over the town.
Upon further inquiry, one municipal official pointed fingers to people living at the dump site. It is winter time and people make fires to stay warm. This caused the fire that is currently raging out of control beneath the surface of the dump site.
Despite a curfew where no one is allowed on the dump site between dawn and dusk every day, dozens of people live on the dump site on a permanent basis, making a living selling recyclable materials to recycling operators.
The municipality have already erected a barrier fence, but it is simply ignored.
“People ignore the fact that there is a fence. People ignore the fact that no one is allowed on the dump site between sunset and sunrise every day, leave alone erecting structures and living there permanently. People ignore the fact that a dump site is a dangerous place where you can get hurt or can contract diseases”, a municipal source who is equally frustrated by the situation explained.
Adding, President Hage Geingob several years ago urged local authorities countrywide to remove people from dump sites and to prevent

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