Nature Foundation Releases Results of Community Survey of Effects of Dump Fires


~ Effects of Toxic Smoke Felt Island Wide ~

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation over the weekend released the results of the survey which was initiated after the last large-scale fire at the Philipsburg landfill. The survey asked specifically which district responders were from, the effects they have experienced from the smoke caused by the fire and if they ever had to seek medical attention because of the fires. Some 500 people responded to the survey with the breakdown of answers being as follows:

  • All districts of Sint Maarten have been effected by the smoke caused by the landfill fires
  • 35% frequently experience negative effects throughout the year from fumes coming from the landfill
  • 50% of all respondents complained about trouble breathing due to the fumes coming from the landfill
  • 73% of all respondents mentioned burning in their eyes, nose or throat
  • 50% experienced burning, watering eyes because of the toxic fumes
  • 30% experienced nausea combined with vomiting
  • 50% experienced uncontrolled coughing
  • And 40% have sought medical assistance because of health complications arising from the fumes caused by the landfill

“We were all aware that the fumes caused by these fires negatively affect the population. Now with these results we can show what some of the things are which the community is faced with when fires at the dump happen. We must also realize that, not only does smoke from the fires affect the health of the population, but the landfill is constantly off-gassing which also raises health concerns,” commented Tadzio Bervoets of the Nature Foundation.

The Foundation has communicated the results to decision-makers and supports continuing efforts to urgently address the issue of the Philipsburg landfill; “Things seem to be moving because of the significant concerns raised by the population. It is the hope of the Nature Foundation that a solution to this serious health issue is arrived at urgently,” concluded Bervoets.