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An innocent looking activity in a quiet neighborhood. It may even appear like a good exercise as somebody deals with garbage and the fire seems to be well controlled. BUT. The harmlessness of such a fire depends on what it is burning. I grew up in Nairobi and open fires were a no no! You just didn’t start them and if you did, the fire brigade sirens would be heard as they came fast and furious to prevent disaster. You would face the law, so we hardly saw such fires. Today such fires are common, and my concern is not just about the threat of spreading and wreaking havoc upon property and lives. The fumes may be even more deadly especially if there are plastics burning. Air pollution from the burning of plastics releases harmful gases like dioxins, furans, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls. ¬†These highly toxic gases can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system and interference with hormones. Awareness needs to be created about this hazard.

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