Second Recycling Plant Fire In Six Months.

Sunrise: 05.02 am   Sunset: 09.44 pm

IMG_052322ND JUNE 2013b

Photograph taken at 16.09 on 16/06/2013, from Hoo Wood, looking west across Wilden Lane and the marsh.

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.

21 Comments on “Second Recycling Plant Fire In Six Months.

  1. Well I’ve ‘liked’ this Mike, but obviously I don’t like this at all! Whilst I could make some flippant comment about the lethargy of the biting insects, the fact remains that this is affecting you, your dog and all the critters of the marsh (and surrounding inhabitants). I know these kind of fires are very difficult to put out – the nature of the heaps mean that they can smoulder for months. It’s crap that this is the second one within six months and it seems they’re not making the necessary changes to prevent it happening again. Grrrr!

    • For a moment there, Lucy, you put me in mind of Laura Croft. It not a nice environment here at the moment, but nature is very good at recovering from natural, and not so natural disasters; however, it does make me wonder how far we are from the straw that is capable of breaking the camel’s back.:)

    • That it does, Colline. Do we recycle, burn or bury it. Logic suggests we should recycle. The problem might be that paper, cardboard and plastics waste is liable to spontaneous combustion.

  2. The answer is to produce much less waste in the first place but that seems to be too hard for anyone to think about. Bad luck about the pollution.

  3. I now I am always comforted to hear the ‘official’ determination that there is no health risk due to the fire.

  4. I agree with Tom (from tootlepedal), we should produce less hazardous waste in the first place.

    Industries should only be allowed to produce what can be recycled in some way. One thing I really hate is the amount of plastic trays under produce in the supermarkets. I try to buy organic and not use any plastic bags, but the few I do get seem to multiply with a mind of their own.

    • It’s better than in ‘the old days’, perhaps conditions will improve still further with time.

    • It’s not good! The cause of the fire is not yet known. No one was caught by the security cameras prior to the start of the fire.

      • That is just a crime..I hope that if someone is setting these fires they can find them…

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