Copper trouble

by Kimberley Cummins

bsfirescopeshotCooper thieves today struck big at B’s Recycling.

On this occasion the theft of copper was not the major headache for the owners, however. They claimed the villains caused an environmental challenge and thousands of dollars of materials marked for export as scrap for recycling went up in the thick billowing dark-gray clouds of smoke which engulfed the Reece Road, Cane Garden, St. Thomas business and surrounding areas.

Manager of B’s Recycling, Troy Johnson, told Barbados TODAY that it was some time near noon when workers at the company caught about four men on the outskirts of the dump, “burning cooper” on the ground. He said that because of the existing dry conditions the cooper ignited nearby shrubs and it “got away” and continued to spread very quickly.

“When my guys approached them, they run at them with swords,” he said.

However, the blaze had already spread to some tires and old cars within the compound so they were unable to contain it themselves and called the police and fire service for assistance.

He added: “It probably got away and caught out by us so that is when we contacted the fire service for them to try to contain it as best as possible. Look their wheel barrow is still down in the fire, the sword on the ground… It got me real annoyed. We can’t say how much in figures right now but it will definitely impact on us.

“When they burn out the insulation, they get more value for it. That is why we try to curb that. That is why we bring in a machine to stop the burning of copper, a copper chopper, to stop this foolishness from happening ’cause you still got a lot of lawless people. That is exactly what this is – lawlessness – because no one in their right mind would burn a fire right next to a metal site,” he said.

Evelyn Hurley, who lives directly next to where the fire was raging was visibly upset about the situation. Telling Barbados TODAY that for months she and other residents complained about the dump and its implications, given the proximity.

As workers from B’s Recycling and a fire tender battled to stop the fire from spreading to a nearby property, she said she had complained about the dust, noises and fumes coming from the property and which caused a nuisance for the residents but no one listened.

“I think now the world will see what is happening to us,” she said.

One Response to Copper trouble

  1. Tony Webster March 26, 2013 at 6:12 am

    When hyrdro-carbon-based materials are burned, in anything less than carefully-controlled conditions, carcinogens are released. Materials such as vehicle tyres; oils, greases, insulating rubbers etc. Not to mentioned carbon particulates which themselves cause problems with asthma and emphysema sufferers. The cancers so initiated may take many years to be come evident. These cancers can also be caused by improperly-working diesel (and gasolene) engines…as can be seen on our highways, each and every day- unless you happen to be blind, deaf, and dumb…or choose not to breathe.

    The real criminals in this particular instance, are of course those who deliberately, and brazenly, continue their merry way with no respect for anyone else’s property, or health, or the law.

    We await to learn of any consequences of this unfortunate matter: ONE: if those residents who were a bit worried about the relocation of the recycling operations, might have something to say…to their lawyers. TWO: With the wisdom of experience now firmly in their hands, what, if anything, will the “relevant authorities” say, and more importantly, actually do? The first “line of action”, I suspect, will be to rapidly pass this hot potato around, until it the buck-passing stops at someone’s IN-tray: First try Min. Health; then Min. Environment; then Min. Town Planning; then Min. A.G. /DPP to prosecute all rogues culpable.

    There is plenty of culpability to share-out.


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