Landfill fire | 24 September 2020
Providence industrial zone to partially open today
● Agencies satisfied with coordination and efforts to control situation
The Providence industrial zone reopens today for commerce and administrative purposes, following a three-day closure due to the Providence landfill fire.
The decision taken does not apply to Zone 20, which is to remain closed off to the public until works to cover and compact landfill 1 is completed, to ensure that there is no traffic congestion for the loader trucks transporting coral fill and soil to the site.
Movement will remain restricted for the present time until next week, and motorists are being advised to follow instructions of police officers on-hand, and to refrain from visiting the area, unless absolutely necessary.
The decision to partially open the zone was taken collectively by the various agencies who have over the past five days engaged in efforts to contain and control the fire and restore some sense of normalcy.
In a press conference held at the command centre yesterday evening, they expressed their satisfaction with the efforts and coordination of the various agencies and partners involved to get the situation under control.
Such sentiments were echoed by representatives of the agencies and organisations who have from Saturday evening been involved on-site, namely, Jones Madeleine, assistant divisional officer and public relations officer of the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA); assistant superintendent (ASP) Antoine Desnousse of the traffic division of the Seychelles Police Force (SPF); senior risk and disaster management officer at the Department of Disaster and Risk Management (DRDM) Daniel Cetoupe; secretary general of the Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS) Marie-May Bastienne; as well as chief executive of the Industrial Estates Authority (IEA) Lucy Athanasius. Also present was the principal secretary for environment Alain de Commarmond.
“Today, we saw the fruit of all our work. We have observed a big improvement in the air quality and we have succeeded with our objective to complete work on landfill 2, to put out the whole fire itself, and work has now moved to landfill 1. There is also a great improvement on landfill 1 from this morning, evidence of the intensive work undertaken so we can meet our target on Friday, when we expect to have everything under control,” Mr Cetoupe stated.
DRDM was called on-site on Saturday evening after the blaze escalated due to lack of proper equipment such as excavators and heavy loaders to help contain the fire. As the fire spread further, DRDM assumed responsibility to coordinate rescue and emergency efforts, taking over command. Other organisations including RCSS, also assisted with running the command centre, tending to and providing relief to DRDM and SFRSA officers in action on scene, conduct wind checks as well as to evaluate the situation in neighbouring communities, impacted by the toxic fumes which were spilling from the site on Sunday up to Monday.
Officers of the SPF have also been on-site to control the flow of traffic in the area and ensure that operations are undertaken well and will remain there until the situation is completely under control, and the command centre packed up.
Work will continue on landfill 1 through the day today, mainly to cover and compact the waste and move the scrap metal heap which is at risk of re-igniting away from the boundary established by SFRSA.
Concerned agencies will continue to monitor the situation however, as the risk of fire pockets and patches igniting are still possible for weeks to come, said Mr Madeleine.