The fire at the dump in Rincón de Guayabitos The fire at the dump in Rincón de Guayabitos has been burning for more than three weeks.

Garbage dump fire raises health concerns in Nayarit

Rotten odors are reaching the hotel area in Jaltemba Bay, which receives 90,000 guests on long weekends

A 24-day fire at a garbage dump at the Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, is posing health risks to locals and firefighters and damaging crops in the area.

Authorities have been unable to extinguish the blaze at the La Colmena disposal site in Rincón de Guayabitos despite resident protests, official complaints and partial closures on the coastal highway.

The fire is emitting gases and rotten odors that are reaching the beach and hotel zone two kilometers away, which receive up to 90,000 tourists on long weekends, according to the newspaper Reforma.

Raúl Millán, a consultant at private security company CRS, warned locals not to consume pineapples grown in the surrounding areas and said that firefighters are tackling the blaze without adequate protection.

He added that even when the present situation is resolved, the site would require a biogas pipeline, a retaining wall and fencing to avoid longer term health effects.

State lawmaker Rosa Mirna Mora also voiced her concern for firefighters, who she said had reported symptoms of respiratory illness, shaking and physical weakness, and added that corruption and public mishandling were at the root of the problem.

Another state legislator Jorge Ortiz, said that when he went to examine the site there were only two firefighters fighting the almost two-hectare fire, armed with two firehoses, a shovel and a pickaxe.

The use of local resources is also part of the problem. Cristóbal Fernández, spokesman for a Jaltemba Bay environmental group, said there was another dump in the municipality which had not been put into operation, despite being completed in 2015 for a cost of 26 million pesos (about US $1.3 million).

With reports from Reforma

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.