Photos of the Civil Protection Department (CPD) workers not wearing protective masks while fighting the fires at Magħtab landfill aroused the public’s concern about the workers’ safety.
CPD Director Emmanuel Psaila told Newsbook.com.mt that there were photos of the workers both with and without the breathing apparatus (BA), and stressed that the photos may not be painting a clear picture in terms of the distance between the workers and the smoke emitted from the fires.
At the end of August, the CPD had appealed to those living in Naxxar, San Ġwann, Sliema and other localities close to Magħtab landfill to keep their windows closed due to the smoke emitting from the fire. The Health Directorate have also appealed to the public to properly rinse any produce.
Psaila explained that workers who didn’t have a BA were in a zone where winds were drafting in from behind them, meaning that they weren’t exposed to smoke. Furthermore, a fire of that size causes a phenomenon called a wind draft, which ensures that the smoke dissipates upwards. He went on to say that as soon as the fires were put out, all workers were given a BA as there was no longer any wind draft to protect them.