x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Jebel Ali fire caused by illegally dumped aerosol cans

Aerosol cans that should have been depressurised before they were dumped into a Jebel Ali landfill caused a fire there, authorities said.

DUBAI // A small number of empty aerosol cans that had been dumped illegally caused a fire this week at the Dubai Municipality's landfill in Jebel Ali, authorities say.

A private company had acquired permits to dump paint containers but not aerosol cans, said Naji Al Radhi, head of the treatment section at the municipality's waste-management department.

"There were empty aerosol pressurised cans with the offloaded material," said Mr Al Radhi.

"This could not be seen, as they were in small quantity. We have an understanding with the environment-control section that we don't receive pressurised cans as they can be explosive."

He said the company, which he would not identify, had breached its waste permits and would be issued with a fine or a warning.

Tuesday's fire at the Jebel Ali hazardous waste treatment plant near Emirates Road was the second such accident in less than two months.

The fire was extinguished in an hour but thick black smoke could be seen from Sheikh Zayed Road.

Mr Al Radhi said the hot weather added to the pressure.

"We are writing a report to take action against the company," he said. "They said the quantity of the cans was very small but it is the source.

"The environment department should take the necessary procedures so they don't send things that aren't permitted."

The plant stopped receiving aerosol cans a year ago, the municipality said.

Its environment department, which issues permits, said it would take action after it received the report.

"We will take action after studying the quantity of the cans," said Abdul Salam Saleh, head of the environmental control section.

"Companies should depressurise them and take aerosol cans to the dumping site."

Last month's fire at the facility took two days to be extinguished.

The municipality said sludge had overflowed from the "difficult-waste" section into another part of the landfill, causing it to ignite.

Sludge from sewage-treatment plants is usually treated and dump-ed in the difficult-waste section.

The Jebel Ali hazardous waste treatment plant, which opened in 1998, is used to dump and treat hazardous and difficult waste, such as paint cans, and general waste.

Last year it handled about 156,000 tonnes of hazardous material, including medical and industrial waste.

pkannan@thenational.ae