This landfill in Vale da Venda, in Loulé, belongs to the company Inertegarve, which has already been warned by the public authorities to extinguish the fire. However, it is still burning and residents are concerned about the consequences for public health.
Toxic smoke is spreading to residents' homes and establishments, especially when the wind changes direction. One of the residents, Rob Thomson, who lives nearby, told The Portugal News that a month has passed, but the smell still enters through his windows.
“The fire is still releasing toxic fumes. We cannot at certain times of the day have our windows open and we live a mile away. These fumes have caused substantial atmospheric pollution”.
“In these times of acute awareness with regards to air pollution how has this been allowed to happen? What is even more worrying are the plastic based fumes which contain dioxins, furans, mercury, etc. These are known carcinogens when exposure is significant and prolonged”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Algarve Public Health Authority has requested "the immediate extinction" of the burning material at the landfill site. The statements were made in a note published on the Algarve Regional Health Administration (ARS) website, following an air quality monitoring report.
This situation, which is causing the emission of air pollutants that are potentially harmful to health and the environment, has already prompted public authorities to visit the site and see for themselves.
Following a visit by the "local health authority and the GNR, accompanied by other entities", they confirmed the "suspected risk to public health and the urgent need [for the company] to completely stop the outbreaks", the note reads.
In addition, the assessment "on the possible presence of critical levels of pollution in the face of an environmental accident" carried out over nine days by the company Monitar - Engenharia do Ambiente, via a mobile station, detected "the concentration of values above the indicative reference levels for the parameters PM10 particles and Benzene", stresses the note from the Algarve Regional Health Authority.
Loulé mayor Vítor Aleixo told Sic Notícias he has already demanded the company put out the fire, offering the landfill owners the necessary means, but if the company doesn’t cooperate the council will act and present the invoice afterwards.
The Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission have already announced the suspension of Inertegarve's waste management licence, but the fire continues to consume the rubbish and the smoke and smell continues to affect residents.