AQI reading of ‘HAZARDOUS’, taken from EMA’s Port of Spain Monitoring Station at 1 pm on 8th April 2022. (Image courtesy EMA)

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) says while there has been some improvement in the air quality levels at the Beetham Landfill and in Port of Spain, that air quality has been recorded at UNHEALTHY levels.

The most recent reading—from the EMA’s Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station located at Beetham, Port of Spain— is 189 points, recorded at 1 pm today.  This is a significant improvement from the reading taken 24 hours ago, at 1 pm on Thursday, which was 342 points.

During the morning period today, the air quality had registered as VERY UNHEALTY, in the 200–300-point range, which the EMA noted was an improvement over yesterday’s HAZARDOUS levels.

Notwithstanding the improvement, the EMA is still advising extreme caution:

“It is noted that extreme caution is still required by all persons in the vicinity, particularly the elderly, children, and those with respiratory ailments.  The high reading is due primarily to the smoke and particulate matter associated with the fire at the Beetham Landfill.”

According to the EMA, a reading of 189 points means:

“People with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.  Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.”

Health effects of such poor air quality include:

“Increased aggravation of respiratory symptoms in sensitive groups including older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies; increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in people with heart or lung disease; and increased respiratory effects in the general population.”

The Authority says it is liaising closely with partner agencies, such as SWMCOL to obtain status updates, and all relevant agencies, including the Ministry of Health, continue to monitor the situation.

The EMA says further details will be provided as the situation unfolds.

It is encouraging members of the public to visit the following link to access additional information https://ei.weblakes.com/RTTPublic/DshBrdAQI