City of Harare epidemiologist Kudzai Masunda yesterday spoke about the Pomona dumpsite fire that started last Friday and gave recommendations to residents on how to take care of their health as the council works to put the fire out.
The fire broke out on Friday and is still raging, In a Facebook post, City of Harare insinuated that the fire was caused by an electrical fault.
The post was later edited after an uproar by residents in the comment section. Council also advised that they are working with the Air Force of Zimbabwe who have supplied an additional fire tender.
Masunda said they are worded about fire at the dumpsite, particularly because there are many chemicals hence toxic gases are being produced there.
‘When there is a fire, especially at a dumpsite, we are worried because at dumpsites there are a lot of chemicals that are there and also there has been a lot of decomposition that has happened in those areas, so we are worried about gaseous chemicals that can be produced from those fires.
“It is important that in that area people understand the flow of air so that they see whether they are downwind from the Pomona dumpsite.
We implore residents in that area to check whether they have air that come from the dumpsite. “In terms of respiratory issues that may manifest, they will have symptoms of dry cough, tightness of the chest, redness and itchiness of eyes, irritability.
“It’s important that if people in the surrounding areas have any of these symptoms, they should visit their health care providers as early as possible.
“Because we are in the Covid-19 situation, they should also be tested for Covid-19. If that’s excluded and if the symptoms remain, that means they may have been affected.
“They should practice preventative measures from gaseous contaminants by wearing masks, avoid being outside for a long time if they are downwind.
“Although it is contrary to Covid-19 regulations, they must close the windows so that the gases don’t get into their houses which may cause contamination.
“As we know more of the gases being produced we will be giving more advise on the precautionary measures that can be taken,” he said.