The Ministry of Health recommended that the surrounding population wear a mask or cover their mouth and nose with a handkerchief moistened with water to avoid breathing the smoke.
A fire that started on Monday in the Cerro de Patacon, the largest landfill in Panama and located on the outskirts of the capital, generated a cloud of toxic smoke that affects the population living in the area and that keeps the authorities on alert.
The Ministry of Health recommended that the surrounding population wear a mask or cover their mouth and nose with a handkerchief moistened with water to avoid breathing in the smoke.
“The smoke from the fires is made up of a mixture of gases and particles that can affect the eyes, the respiratory tract and aggravate the symptoms of those who suffer from heart and lung diseases,” he explained.
For his part, Mario Rodriguez, a pediatrician and national head of the Children and Adolescents Section of the Ministry of Health, reported that this calamity has affected “to the child population of the area, causing discomfort in the children’s respiratory tracts and producing physical reactions, especially in their oxygenation”.
The Fire Department continued on Wednesday the work of extinction of the fire, which is already under control. The agents had the help of the Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN) and Interaseo Urbalia Panama, administrator of the sanitary landfill.
For its part, the local newspaper Critica reported that Interaseo announced the temporary closure of the Cerro Patacon Environmental Park to protect the lives of workers and residents.
The company also reported that authorities are already investigating the causes that generated the fire and that, for the moment, it is known that it started simultaneously in three different points. This last event generates “strangeness”, according to the outlet, for which “a criminal act has not been ruled out”.
The landfill, which collects More than 40% of all the garbage generated in the country is described by the Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepcion, as “an environmental and health disaster.”