Dumps pose lung dangers to nearby residents

| 25/05/2016 | 67 Comments
Cayman News Service

The George Town dump smouldering during one of its underground fires

(CNS): Scientists have published the results of a five-year study, which found that people living within a three-mile radius of a landfill are at higher risk of being admitted to hospital or dying from lung disease and that children are particularly vulnerable. The study found gasses emitted by rotting rubbish are increasing the risk of lung cancer for those living closer to landfills by 34% than for people who live more than three miles away. The study was conducted in Italy but the results are already raising concerns among residents on Grand Cayman, given the historic problems of the George Town landfill.

Given the findings of the study of the level of risk for residents close to even well-managed and EU regulated landfills, one CNS reader and resident at the Lakeside Apartments said they were now even more concerned about the failure of government to address the growing garbage pile. The study is likely to cause even more worries in the community about the dump, a.k.a. Mount Trashmore, which has long been considered an eyesore and an environmental disaster.

The results of the research project were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and the study tracked 242,000 people living close to one of nine landfill sites in central Italy.

It used the levels of hydrogen-sulphide, one of a number of noxious gases emitted by landfills, to gauge the noxious fumes and anticipated other gases released from the dumps would be at similar levels and found that those living up to three miles from dumps were exposed to far greater levels of dangerous poisonous gas. The annual average exposure levels of hydrogen sulphide was found to be 6.3 ng/m3, but for those living close to landfills it jumped to an average of 45.ng/m3.

Thousands of people in Cayman live within three miles of the dump.

The study is one of a number of research projects adding to mounting evidence that living near to a waste site poses serious respiratory threats, though the authors have stated that further studies are needed to confirm the true extent of the health implications.

Co-author Francesca Mataloni said evidence on the health of those living near landfills is “still controversial” but in this study breathing problems were detected among residents living close to waste sites.

“These were linked to inhalation exposure to endotoxin, microorganisms, and aerosols from waste collection and land filling,” she said. “This is consistent with other studies, however, the association between living proximity to landfill sites and cases of lung cancer is a new finding.”

Category: environmental health, Health, health and safety

Comments (67)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force, like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action – George Washington

  2. Anonymous says:

    We need a negotiator to barge all of Mt Trashmore to Cuba – where the Castro Bros ought to deal with it for free in recognition of the years of very costly repatriation of their fleeing citizens. What are we getting for our troubles? Flight routes? We can do better.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ours is almost three miles high now so it will soon be out of danger…is there anywhere else in Cayman to put a dump that won’t affect people living within three miles of it?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who is the genius who thought it a good idea to build a school next to a landfill? And what kind of planning department could approve such a dumb and irresponsible thing?

  5. anonymous says:

    A landfill is a carefully designed and monitored structure that isolates trash from the surrounding environment.
    The Mount trashmore in NOT a landfill.
    CNS please use the correct wording- An open Dump!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Everyone should be equally concerned with the amount of exhaust levels blown out on our roads, given that there are no exhaust level checks done at the licensing dept and that most people like to run their car while sitting idle in a parking lot (which by the way is illegal in many European countries).

    Have you seen the black crap that comes out of some of those vehicles (especially dump trucks)? Just the other day I was driving behind one and we had to turn off the AC in my car cause the fumes from the car ahead of us were unbearable to tolerate.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CNS I think that this is a rather simplistic view which will stir emotions. What would have been more beneficial would have been for the article to include comparisons of the various scientific readings in this “Italy” report with the scientific readings from the fairly recent published report done on our dump.
    Then we, the reader, would be able to clearly see and understand any threats. Please let’s deal with real facts and scientific data, not emotions.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:50
      Do you have common sense?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear, you sound broken. I think the only view and one which is ‘simplistic’ enough for everyone is the fact that dumping tons of household waste in ignorance for years will ultimately be a public health danger.

      This message is simplistic, without any undue emotion and I do not feel the need to quote scientific data or comparisons to state the bleeding obvious!

  8. Anonymous says:

    All the experts said it was ok that there was no poison being admitted from the dump All your leaders agreed The wisdom of the leaders cannot be questioned for they represent the views of those that voted them into office
    So this report must be wrong

  9. Anonymous says:

    The most expensive, prime real estate in Grand Cayman is within 3 miles radius of this ticking bomb a.k.a Mount Trashmore.
    A co-worker had died from an aggressive brain tumor after 2 years in Grand Cayman. This person was walking a lot (to and from work) and lived in the Dump vicinity.
    Another co-worker has a child born in Grand Cayman whose first teeth came out already rotten.
    Children are being born with cancer on this island.
    And yet there are no protests or legal actions agains CIG.

  10. Anonymous says:

    CaymanKind.

  11. Caymanian realistic says:

    Of course, we didn’t need a study to tell us this, when the dump is on fire just smell the smoke. Besides that see all the sh.. that has gone into this dump over the years, hospital equipment, batteries and all the other toxic sh..
    It’s time to address this issue, unfortunately the donkey BTrs don’t understand what a facility is. They think they will have a dump in bt.

    Honestly this will be forgotten again and nothing will change, we Caymanians are just like that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Blame it on OZZIE! Mater of fact, blame it on the PPM administration for doing nothing thus far during their term in office.

      • Better Cayman says:

        The only politician that has stood up and addressed this matter with any real seriousness is Winston Connolly and the powers that be don’t fully support him. Wake up Cayman, we are all in danger medically, physically, financially, etc., We need to address the issue once and for all with a feasible, long term solution and stop pandering to votes!

  12. Anonymous says:

    And it’s taken how long to find this out? Anyone who has ever been anywhere near the dump, particularly during one of the fires, could have told you this.

    • Anonymous says:

      People owning real estate within 3 miles radius should sue CIG.

      The Clean Air Act is a United States federal law designed to control air pollution on a national level.

      Is there such a Law in the Cayman Islands?

  13. Anon says:

    So glad we are leaving Cayman! Everyday a new thing added to the list – this one is very serious and anyone coming here needs to be warned of the hazardous poisons polluting the environment and slowly killing us! Gov will do nothing about this just as they haven’t about the recycling issue and many others! Cayman is on a downhill slope and picking up speed!

  14. bobo. says:

    From the article:

    ‘Co-author Francesca Mataloni said evidence on the health of those living near landfills is “still controversial” but in this study breathing problems were detected among residents living close to waste sites.’

    They used to say that about cigarettes and smoking. There should be a good number of people lining up for the class action suit in a few years.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Alden move that stinking dump!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Why is everyone ape-s*it about the amount of hydrogen sulphide emitted from the government landfill? One of those mega cruiseships that will tie up to the $300M dock in George Town will emit more sulphur dioxide than 2,000 diesel lorries running their engines continuously. (Google it)

    Every city in the world has to have a landfill garbage dump attached to it that makes Mount Trashmore look like a molehill. The article rightfully says “Given the findings of the study of the level of risk for residents close to even well-managed and EU regulated landfills” the same problem exists, indeed the study was conducted in Italy so the problem obviously exists there to a greater extent than in Cayman.

    This hull-a-baloo about gases from a landfill is like stating the fact that ALL swimming pools have urine and fecal matter in them ………… they all do but millions swim in them every day.

    Moving Mount Trashmore to another location is like sticking your head in the sand, it will still emit the same noxious gasses there, just like every other one in the world.
    Wherever you put it there will some day be human beings living within 3 miles of it, even if not on the day it is moved. Camana Bay, the International School and Lakeside Apartments were built decades after Mount Trashmore was born, yet, no one seemed to care when the communities within 3 miles of the dump were low economic villages like “Dog City”, Eastern Avenue, Crew Road and “The Swamp”. If there is going to be a sue-for-all, perhaps those poor people could be included in the “class action” as they breath the same air as those at Camana Bay.

    Recycling may reduce the rate of growth of mount trashmore but it will do nothing to lessen the noxious gasses being emitted from the remaining rotting biomass as the recyclables do not rot. It is an inconvenient truth, but Mount Trashmore is a byproduct of the fact that humans live in Cayman……..just like it is in every single community or city in the world. If anyone in the world had a solution, there would be NO landfills anywhere in the world as no one likes them in their back yard.

    • Kettle Pot says:

      You forget that those studies are on well maintained landfills not a dump which is what we have here. Contrast cohesive waste management where hazardous materials such as medical waste including all the radioactive materials from X-ray devices, heavy metals, batteries, etc. are treated properly. What we have here is a pile of junk with all sorts of those hazards mixed in with some dirt piled on top of it. Hydrogen sulfide is the least of our worries with the pile of death we have now.

      When we finally wake up we will realize that we are going to have to remediate it rather than just bury this stinking pile under more dirt.

      Incinerating and waste to energy might be more expensive now, but it would seem a bargain once we start looking at the health care costs for everyone. Yes, those people living on Mary street, in Dog city and the like deserve to live without being poisoned by decades of irresponsible dumping.

      Don’t sh&t where you eat.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Commentators are not thinking about the profit, there is no profit in cleaning up the dump. There are no liabilities for external costs of business, so you just have to suck it up and start showing your cayman pride, or just go home since we don’t need your kind here anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      No profit but what about the burden on our Govt health care dealing with all of the sickness created by this monstrosity?

    • Anonymous says:

      is health not important? if you think about it not being sick saves you from spending on medical and enables you to work without being sick – there is your profit!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Wait, are they just now realising that you’re not suppose to sh** where you eat. Who thought it would be perfectly fine to continue stacking up a sh** mountain. They say Cayman is paradise, but having a giagantic sh** mountain in the middle of your island polluting the very air we breathe doesn’t seem like paradise to me. The dump was suppose to be handled long ago, it is a envionmental hazard. Wake up Cayman and realise that the people that represent this Island do not give two Sh** about it or you for that matter.

  19. Anonymous says:

    thank you ppm……hope your bodden town votes were worth it……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  20. Anonymous says:

    class action…..lets go……

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t the government get rid of this trash!? Why are we holding on to the trash????
    Get rid of it! This should be top priority!! The new airport can be taken care of after this! The cayman government don’t care about us! They want us all DEAD!!!!!!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wow, so they think there is any place in Cayman that would be safe? Well, where would they suggest it should be moved to?

  23. Anonymous says:

    A three mile radius….. My goodness that’s a good chunk of GT and the SMB area… Not good at all

  24. Anonymous says:

    This could be what finally gets this whole stinking mess sorted. Reports like this will result eventually in multiple law suits against CIG for failure to act on a known problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      criminal negligence is defined as any type of conduct that “grossly deviates” from normal, reasonable standards of an ordinary person. It generally involves an indifference or disregard for human life or for the safety of people.

  25. Worthless expat says:

    Time for this and every previous government oh and the next to bury there head in the soon to be polluted sand

  26. Jotnar says:

    Bodden Town is more than 3 miles away, so no worries for CIG.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Thanks should go out to Alden and Ozzie for giving us 4 more years of breathing in this poison. Had it not been for them it would have at least been capped and at no cost to us..

  28. Anonymous says:

    This makes me so angry. For all McKeeva’s faults, he had a solution for the dump. The current bunch of jokers have spent three years doing nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Which solution, the one where a the tender was won, then the tender was scrapped and the tender handed to the bidder that cam in 9th or something like that?

      What was it again, Get a new lined piece of land in BT for dumping rubbish, (Which i assume will then be within 3 miles of residents in that area), and it was up to GOV to build the waste management facility there after?

      Wonder if that’s how the GT dump started?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Everyone working in Camana Bay at risk! If I was Dart I would sue as this could affect his investment and all workers there should too!

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous says:
      25/05/2016 at 8:49 pm
      Everyone working in Camana Bay at risk! If I was Dart I would sue as this could affect his investment and all workers there should too!

      My question to you is didn’t Dart decided to purchase his property next to that existing landfill? That landfill been there decades before Dart came along. Not only that, most of those individuals living wtihin three miles radius of the landfill chose to develop and or live there. They decided to do that because of the nearest to the capital of the Island. Those who chose to live in the outer districts have to battle traffic and deal with the high cost of gas to get to and from work. Those in the Town area enjoy all that comes with their location knowing full well that the landfill was there. Now it is a problem to those people and tax payers have to deal with it which will result in increased value of all properties. Property value in Town is much more valuable than in the outer districts.They can’t have their cake and eat it too.

      Before I am misunderstood, I fully agree that the issue needs to be addressed. However, many individuals like myself close to live in an outer district which is much more costly to me and my family. That said, we don’t need it in BT. Address the issue on its existing site by capping it, coupled with a waste management system. This should be done as a matter of priority.

      I would only suggest that serious consideration be given to importing the fill required to cap the landfill which I suspect will save us tax payers half the cost if not less of purchasing the material on island.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, however he had a plan to do something with it, for free. What idiots let that one go? BT voters may not like it, and may not vote for the party that moves it, but you can bet that GT and SMB, West bay voters will be lost in droves if they don’t do something.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous @8:49 I fully agree with you. Mr. Dart and most of the other developments knew the dump was there and still they went there to live and do business. I understand Mr. DArts plan, he was told by a particular politician that he could cap it and set up a ” proper” garbage disposal facility in Bodden Town. I do agree that the dump is terrible and should be fixed ( whatever that is) but moving it to Bidden Town is not a viable option. I have been to one of these ” disposal facilities” in Georgia USA , and while it is different, it is very stink and slushy, and the location previously selected in Bodden Town would also pose a huge problem for the residents in the area. I don’t know the answer and by no means am I scientific but I think I do have common sense and I know it makes no sense to move one problem from to area to the next and expect a different result.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sue for what? The dump was there long before Mr Dart came along.

    • Rick O'Shea says:

      I am not a lawyer but I think legal action may not be successful as the dump pre-existed Camana Bay unless there was some form of agreement Government was to move the dump and now are in breach. Nonetheless it is about time the dump is moved away to a safer location from a majority of this country’s population. Maybe the next government will c…..ah never mind…who are we kidding to think it will ever move?

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe the dump was there before they decided to build a Mall next to it? why should Dart sue?

  30. Jupiter Jack Daniel says:

    Stinkin’ george town ?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Cayman International School kids have standard issue gas masks and body suits. I commend them for taking this risk to their children seriously.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Camana Bay is about a mile from the dump ?

  33. Curious says:

    What does this mean for the workers??

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you! They are not properly protected and I doubt have sufficient life insurance that could provide for their families.

  34. Anonymous says:

    While I do believe the dump should be moved, I also have to wonder why certain developers would build residential buildings down wind from the dump.

  35. Anonymous says:

    RIP every CIS student.

    • Anonymous says:

      why on earth would you give that a thumbs up? Do you not care what happens to children?

      • Anonymous says:

        it was sarcastic and pointed wit. The whole point, (I feel) was the writer cares, just enforcing his point with images that will shock.

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