HomeAsiaDry season causes landfill fires in central and western Java

Dry season causes landfill fires in central and western Java

JAKARTA – Several cities in Central and West Java have been fighting to put out fires engulfing its landfills, with fires caused by the high temperatures of this year’s prolonged seasonEl Niño-induced dry season.

The Putri Cempo landfill in Surakarta, Central Java, was the latest fire, and the fire started on Saturday. So far it has burned 2 hectares of mountains of garbage.

Authorities suspect the fire was sparked by high temperatures experienced during prolonged dry weather.

The Central Java weather station previously issued a drought warning for several cities and regencies in the province, including Surakarta.

“Our analysis so far shows that the high temperature caused the methane gas formed by the mountain of garbage,” said Surakarta Environment Agency director Kristiana Hariyanti, quoted by kompas.com.

Methane, a flammable gas, is often found in landfills as a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic waste, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Firefighters are still fighting to put out the fire at the 17-hectare landfill.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the fire spread rapidly and changes in wind direction and the large pile of flammable debris made extinguishing efforts difficult.

A total of 45 fire units from various local disaster mitigation agencies and firefighters around Surakarta had been deployed to Putri Cempo as of Monday.

“We have also received a request from the Surakarta municipal administration for a water bombing operation to put out the fire at the landfill,” BNPB deputy director of emergency management Fajar Setyawan said in a statement on Monday.

The fire at Putri Cempo has caused haze over several residential areas around the landfill.

According to the Surakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency, around 200 residents of Mojosongo subdistrict have complained about health problems suffered by vulnerable groups, including respiratory problems affecting children and the elderly.

Mojosongo administration health workers have provided treatment to the affected residents.

Local authorities also distributed face masks and advised residents living within 50 meters of the landfill to evacuate, although most decided to stay home.

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