CALLS have been made for urgent action after a waste disposal site fire continues to burn after more than a week.
An investigation is still ongoing into the fire at Adrian Lewis Waste Paper Collections Ltd, which broke out on January 5. Fire services have continued to manage the Nantyglo blaze, which is being fuelled by more than 200 tonnes of mixed waste.
Residents are angry about the smells and smoke, with many complaining it has left them prisoners in their own homes.
Mandy Pritchard, 45, of Limestone Road, can see the fire from her kitchen window.
“It’s annoying and it’s been going on for far too long,” she said. “The smell is going through the house. On Saturday everyone was up at six in the morning because the wind was blowing the smoke in our direction.
“This is a problem that’s been going on for two years with that place, though – the fire has just made it worse.
“The little boy next door hasn’t been able to leave the house except for going to school. All I’m doing is cleaning the house with all the dust. It’s terrible.”
Nick Smith MP has called for everyone to work together to tackle this problem and stop making residents’ lives a misery. The Blaenau Gwent MP said: “Over the weekend, the fire continued to burn and because of low fog and changing wind direction, smoke and fumes were blown over the local community.
“Local people are very fed-up as this fire has been flaring for more than a week. Residents are very concerned about the time being taken to extinguish the fire while public agencies report the complexity of dealing with the waste and gaining the necessary site access to the burning stockpile.
“It’s a pity the enforcement notice was only issued last Friday rather than earlier so that more urgent action could have been taken. I called a meeting in Nantyglo with all the key players, the Environment Agency, the council, the Fire Service and Public Health to stress the need to work together and as fast as possible to put out the fire on the site.
“Plus residents must be kept informed of developments and a public meeting should be arranged. Public Health must monitor the air quality so we have as much data as possible.
“The council must look for neighbouring sites to dispose of the doused-down refuse so that the 200 to 300 tonnes of plastic refuse can be brought under control.”
The cause of the fire is still unknown, with the Environment Agency investigating whether any problems at the site may have led to the blaze.
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said there was a lot of smoke because of “atmospheric conditions” and that 30 tonnes of refuse has been removed from the site in the last few days.
As a precautionary measure, Blaenau Gwent Council have told residents to keep their windows and doors closed. As the area with one of the highest rate of emergency respiratory admissions in Wales, people in the Nantyglo area who have lung problems are being urged by the British Lung Foundation to remain extra cautious.
Chris Mulholland, head of British Lung Foundation Wales, said: “We would advise people living with a lung condition in the area to avoid unnecessarily going outdoors until the air quality is proved to be satisfactory.”
The British Lung Foundation’s Helpline can also provide advice to anyone concerned on 03000 030 555.
For original publication and pictures: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/south-wales-news/blaenau-gwent/2013/01/17/the-fire-that-won-t-go-out-91466-32607400/#ixzz2IECI0iYd