8 Jul 2005

Fiji town clerk rubbishes claims about toxic dump fire fumes

1:24 pm on 8 July 2005

The Suva City Council town clerk has dismissed reports that a fire at the Fiji capital's Lami rubbish dump is emitting toxic fumes.

Ili Tomasi Verenakadavu says the fire is now under control and denies that nearby residents have been advised to evacuate their homes to escape from the fumes.

However, the acting director of the Ministry of Environment, Manasa Sovaki, earlier said people suffering from respiratory problems face additional risks from the fumes and should evacuate the vicinity.

And a senior lecturer at the Fiji school of Medicine, says the fire is emitting dioxins which are powerful disrupting chemicals.

But Mr Verenakadavu, who claims to be a toxicologist, says the lecturer is misinformed about the fire...

"No, that's all rubbish. These fumes, I'm standing right here on the fire, it's burning out the fumes. What they're saying about the dioxins and all those kind of things here.... it's only green vegetable matter that's burning."

The Suva City Council town clerk, Ili Tomasi Verenakadavu