CHEMICAL SCARE - Solomon Star News


03 July 2018

RESIDENTS of Tuvaruhu, central Honiara are urgently appealing to responsible authorities to immediately remove exposed bottles of chemicals, which were discovered behind the Tuvaruhu community high school (CHS), Monday.

The Solomon Star was at the scene yesterday to witness the scary discovery, and have noticed that more than 10 different types of cartons of chemicals were being dumped there.

The chemicals were identified as; Tin (ll) Chloride hydride, Ethanol absolute, Sulfuric acid, Ammonium Hydrogen difluride, Acetic acid, Ammonium fluoride, Ammonium persulfate,  Ammonium nitrate, Potassium iodide,  Potassium hydroxide, and Potassium nitrate.

Those that were familiar with the chemicals said these were dangerous chemicals and how they were being dumped has caused high risks to humans and the environment.

They were normally used by mining companies.

A community representative told this paper at the scene that, the cartons of chemicals were believed to be dumped there, last Thursday.

He said the alleged suspects wanted to bury the cartons of chemicals behind the Tuvaruhu school, for unknown reason.

“In fact, they already buried quite a number of bottles of chemicals in three holes they dug,’’ he said.

“However, since there were many cartons, they could not dump all the bottles in these three holes,” he said.

“While they were still in the process of burying all the suspected bottles of chemicals, information somehow spread out which prompted members of the public with curiosity.”

He said by the time the suspects knew they were being monitored; they could not complete their work to bury the chemicals at the location.

“Our fear now is, how these chemicals will affect us,” he said.

“Our water pump is just below the area where these chemicals were buried.

“The School is just adjacent to where they dumped these chemicals.

“And our children usually play or do other activities in and around this place as well.

“Therefore, we want responsible authorities to come and remove these chemicals for our safety,” the man who wish to speak on anonymity said.

Another resident said, local police officers and officers from the Ministry of Environment have already visited the location, but are yet to remove the chemicals.

 “We urgently want them to come and remove these chemicals for our safety.

“We are also appealing to our police to investigate this case and apprehend those involved in this unwanted practice.

“This is not a dumping site, for them to just come and do things their own way,’’ he said.

Its understood that, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) has cordoned the area after it was reported to them by residents in Tuvaruhu.

A police statement issued yesterday has confirmed that they have already attended the report.

“Today (yesterday) we received a call from the front line police officers who were on patrol that there were suspected bottles of chemicals that have been located 15 metres from the Tuvaruhu community high school.

“We have gone to the location and securely cordoned the area.

“We want residents of the area to respect that cordon and stay away,” said Director Fire and Rescue Services, Superintendent Rodney Kuma.

He added, the RSIPF Fire and Rescue Services is working very closely with Ministry of Environment to see how they can assist each other to secure the chemicals and get rid of them safely.

“At the same time, I want to call on the people of the Tuvaruhu community to assist police and the Ministry of Environment as we carry out the necessary investigations into the matter,” said Superintendent Kuma.

“At this stage it is advisable that members of the community in Tuvaruhu stay away from the cordoned area as these substances maybe harmful until such time that all is removed to a safer location.

“I appeal to those living in and around that area to assist relevant authorities with whatever information that might of help,” Superintendent Kuma added.

Meanwhile, any members of the public who might have possible leads that can help the police with their investigation can contact phone 23666 or dial the police toll free number 999.