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St James residents urged to protect themselves from landfill smoke

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The St James Public Health Services is urging members of the public to take the necessary precaution to protect themselves from the potential harmful effects of the smoke emanating from the Retirement Landfill in the parish.

In an interview with JIS News, Technical Director for the Western Regional Health Authority, Dr Diane Campbell-Stennett, said persons are being asked to avoid exposure to the smoke as much as possible.

“We are encouraging persons to do this by minimising outdoor activities. We are also asking people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses to cover their mouth and nose with a clean damp rag to prevent any inhalation of smoke or dust particles that they may come in contact with,” she said.

“We are particularly concerned about children, and we want you to keep them indoors as much as possible,” the Director said. She explained that it is particularly important, as many children play outside and they may not recognise if they are becoming ill.

Campbell-Stennett said persons are also being advised to keep windows and doors closed to prevent exposure to smoke and dust, and to look out for any difficulty in breathing or discomfort that a child may experience.

She added that the smoke could aggravate any illness that children may have, such as asthma, or cause them to have respiratory issues.

According to Campbell-Stennett, it is vital for persons with chronic diseases to adhere to their regimen.

“We also want persons who have illnesses such as heart or lung conditions, or any other chronic state, to ensure that they take their medication as prescribed and if people are experiencing difficulty breathing, such as wheezing or tightness in the chest, they should seek urgent medical care,” she urged.

The director is advising persons seeking medical assistance to do so at the Montego Bay Type 5 Health Centre, Catherine Hall Health Centre or the Accident and Emergency Department at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, which is open 24 hours.

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