AQI reading of ‘HAZARDOUS’, taken from EMA’s Port of Spain Monitoring Station at 1 pm on 7th April 2022. (Image courtesy EMA)

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is warning that the current air quality levels at Beetham in Port of Spain are at HAZARDOUS levels.

The most recent reading from the monitoring station at Beetham is 342 points, recorded at 1 pm today.  This is an uptick from an earlier reading taken at 8 am, which was 329 points.

According to the EMA, a reading of 342 points means:

“Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.”

Health effects of such poor air quality include:

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

The EMA is advising extreme caution:

“The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) wishes to advise the public, that the current Air Quality Levels as recorded at its Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station located at Beetham, Port of Spain, is Hazardous. This is due primarily to the smoke and particulate matter associated with the fire at the Beetham landfill. The EMA advises that all persons in the vicinity exercise extreme caution, particularly the elderly, children, and those with respiratory ailments. 

The EMA has advised all relevant agencies including the Ministry of Health and is working with partner agencies, such as SWMCOL to obtain status updates and will provide further details as the situation unfolds.”

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