Out of date flares, batteries, electrical items, and gas canisters continue to be thrown away with general rubbish, putting staff in danger and facilities at Guernsey's waste transfer station at risk of fires.
There were six at Longue Hougue last year - which was down on the year before but described as "still too many" by Guernsey Waste.
The number of fires has steadily reduced from 13 in 2020, to eight in 2021, and six last year. One of the fires in 2022 was due to a flare with the ignition of lithium batteries likely to have caused the others.
Guernsey Waste’s Contracts and Compliance Manager, Rachel Scally said any number of fires is too many: “Over the past four years, we have had almost 40 separate fire incidents at the waste transfer station, seven of them activated by flares."
Pictured: The waste transfer station at Longue Hougue.
“Fortunately, none resulted in serious injury or damage because our fire suppression systems managed to extinguish them. However, we have been lucky so far, because these items could have ignited or exploded at any point from when they were collected through to being processed," Ms Scally continued.
To try and minimise the risk of fires even further, Guernsey Waste is relaunching its 'Check before you chuck don’t leave it to luck' awareness campaign.
Ms Scally said they want to ensure no one working at the waste transfer station is injured.
“Last year’s campaign saw the safe return and disposal of hundreds of flares, which was brilliant. However, we still witnessed six fires in the machinery at the waste transfer station, caused by either a discarded flare or lithium battery. This is still too many. Luckily the fires were quickly extinguished, and no-one was harmed, but it only takes one item and it could be a much more serious incident.
“Our aim is to eliminate the disposal of these items in household general waste altogether.”
Pictured: Flares should be disposed of by marine traders or the police.
The items likely to cause fires can include batteries, digital cameras, e-cigarettes/vapes, electronic items, flares, gas canisters, laptops, and mobile phones. These should never be disposed of in household recycling or general waste bags.
Batteries can be recycled free of charge at Co-op Grand Marche Stores, Aladdin’s Cave, Waitrose, at all schools and the Household Waste & Recycling Centre at Longue Hougue.
Boatowners who may need to replace their flares should either return them to a marine trader or hand them into the Police Station for safe disposal.
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