The past several days have been tough for residents of Northern Belize, primarily villagers in the Corozal District as heavy smoke has been reaching the area and causing many to be affected health wise. Ministry of Health Issued an advisory on the severe smoke affecting Northern Communities.
The Ministry of Health has been alerted of severe smoke affecting the communities of San Narciso, Louisville, San Victor, Santa Clara, San Roman, Cristo Rey and Concepcion in the Corozal District for the past three weeks. An Investigation into the matter revealed that the disturbance is being created by smoke drifting into Belize from a burning dumpsite in Mexico.
In an effort to get control of the burning, the Ministry of Health has made a formal report to the Subdirectory of Environment in Chetumal to have the matter addressed. In the meantime, the Ministry is hereby advising the public in the affected areas that the smoke can cause:
1. Burning to the eyes, runny nose and irritation to throat;
2. Wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and headache as well as worsen existing lung, heart and circulatory conditions, including asthma and chest pain.
Persons living in the affected areas are advised that inhalation of the smoke is not good for anyone and everyone should take precautions by:
1. Avoiding physical activities outdoors if smoke is in the air;
2. Following your doctor’s orders to manage conditions such as asthma or lung disease which may worsen;
3. Staying indoors and keeping windows and doors closed.
a. Only open windows and doors for fresh air when the smoke situation has improved.
b. Pay attention to the heat indoors and if it becomes hot, use a fan or air conditioner to circulate air.
4. Avoid using food boilers, candles, incense, gas stoves or smoking cigarettes inside the house as it adds to indoor fumes.
The Ministry reminds the public if the above recommendations cannot be met, people should consider leaving to a safe area. Where it is not possible to leave the affected area, the public is advised to keep safe indoors especially if you or those you are caring for are having health problems.
For more information, contact: John Bodden - Principal Public Health Inspector - Ministry of Health at 822-2325