Sunday 12 July, 2020

What is the story behind Grand Cayman’s recent landfill fires?

This month there have been three landfill fires (4 September, 12 September and 13 September) reported by the Cayman Islands Fire Service. These were apparently surface fires and not a significant cause for concern— but why have these occurrences at the Cayman Islands’ infamous “Mount Trashmore” been so frequent?

Surface fires typically occur when landfill waste is not properly covered with inert daily and intermediate cover (Cayman Islands uses marl as cover) or if waste is not properly compressed. When uncovered or uncompressed, air intrusion provides the oxygen required for increased biological activity and decomposition of garbage, creating substantial heat and causing material in the landfills to spontaneously combust.

Cayman continues to grapple with ongoing solid waste management issues.

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