Second Recycling Plant Fire In Six Months.
Sunrise: 05.02 am Sunset: 09.44 pm
Wilden Marsh is situated along the banks of the River Stour, in the lower reaches of the Stour Valley; industrial estates mark its north, east and west boundaries. The Worcestershire/Staffordshire canal is as close as twenty metres to the river at a number of points along its course through the reserve.
For the second time in six months a waste recycling plant on the west bank burst into flames, causing a huge plume of dense, acrid, black smoke to rise high above the marsh. The plume was visible from thirty miles away, and the fire has smouldered for seven days so far. 100 fire-fighters fought the blaze at its peak, and 20 to 30 have been engaged in the damping-down of a smouldering mass of paper, cardboard and plastic commercial and household waste each day since. We have had a week of breathing burnt paper and plastic fumes; being on the marsh and out in Hoo Wood has not been a pleasant experience at times.
Water used to quell the blaze became polluted and drained into the canal, reducing the oxygen levels to less than one per cent: 300 gasping fish were rescued.
Worcestershire Regulatory Services have confirmed that the smoke and fume laden clouds do not pose a danger to public health. However, I think they are making my dog sneeze, me breathless, and the bumblebees lethargic; also, there is a marked reduction in the number of biting insects when the smoke permeates Hoo Wood.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.