8 Jul 2005

Fiji envirionment ministry says fire at Suva dump is emitting toxic fumes

10:18 am on 8 July 2005

Residents living near the Fiji capital's Lami rubbish dump have been warned to evacuate their homes because of a fire which has been emitting toxic fumes since Monday.

Radio Legend says the warning has been issued by the ministry of environment.

It acting director, Manasa Sovaro, says people suffering from respiratory problems face additional risks from the fumes emitted by the fire and should evacuate the vicinity.

A senior lecturer at the Fiji School of Medicine, Navilitali Nitidamu, says the fire is emitting dioxins which are powerful hormone disrupting chemicals.

He says dioxins are so toxic that they have serious effects when they reach body fats.

The chemicals, to which the human body has no defence, can cause a wide range of problems including cancer, reduced immunity, miscarriages and birth deformities.

The opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has called on disaster management authorities to prepare large-scale evacuation plans.