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Smoked out...again!

Thursday, January 30, 2014
A man walks through the Beetham landfill yesterday with items he collected at the site, even as workmen (background) carried out work to put out fires started there earlier this week. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

For the second consecutive day, students and staff of primary and secondary schools in Port of Spain were sent home early after classes were dismissed as pungent smoke continues to blanket the capital.


Twitter and Facebook lit up earlier today with messages posted by students "thanking" authorities for the extra days away from classes.


Several businesses in the city have also shut down operations today. The head office of the National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP), located in Sea Lots, closed for a fourth consecutive day because of toxic smoke. 


Patrons of the National Library, located in downtown Port-of-Spain, were advised to use other facilities, as the smoke shut down operations for a second day.



There are many reports that several people in Port-of-Spain are wearing face masks, and are concerned about the health risks posed by inhaling the fumes.



However, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) said the latest air quality tests reveal that the toxicity levels have stabilised in the Port-of-Spain area. 


National Operations Centre (NOC) summoned all relevant agencies to a media conference to discuss the issue. Among the speakers at the conference were Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) head Stephen Ramroop, NOC head Garvin Heerah and Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) chair Nalini Sooklal.