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La Inmaculada RC School closed due to stench from the New River

Love News has been able to confirm that in a meeting hosted by Ministry of Education representatives this afternoon the decision was made to cancel classes at La Inmaculada RC School, in Orange Walk Town. The school is located very near the New River and since early this morning, our studio has been receiving reports that the stench from the river was affecting students. That prompted the school’s administration to call on the Ministry of Education, which in turn, called in Public Health inspectors. In the meeting this afternoon, education reps confirmed that the pollution of the river is releasing some gas into the air and also confirmed that students have complained of headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Currently, officials are looking at other venues where students can be placed until a more thorough assessment has been conducted. Late this evening, Love News spoke to director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero via phone.

Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Well I do know that a couple of people that called us this morning and then I think there was some social media that were flagged to our information officer and eventually we had one school official call the Public Health Department at the Northern Regional Hospital asking for assistance in doing a quick assessment primarily I think with the stench. I don’t think we were called for any other reason other than that so that assessment is just being completed as I understand it and the report is being drafted up now. I don’t have the particulars I do know that one of the recommendations, and it’s only a recommendation we can make from the Ministry of Health standpoint because I understand it there were other groups that were one the ground making an assessment as well and I am assuming it was the Department of Environment and maybe other ministries I don’t know the particulars of that but one of the recommendations would be that we could suspend classes at least in La Inmaculada School for the next two days. The primary concern and I don’t know that the team that went out there would have been able to assess that immediately would have been what is the actual gas or fume that is being produced by whatever is in the river; I think that is the determining factor. If you are able to determine what kind of gas or fumes they are then you would be able to make specific recommendations in that regard. I know that we got some notes of some people saying this is the specific gas that is being produced I guess based on the smell you can kind of attest to that but I don’t know what else is being mixed up or what other fumes is coming up in that regard. What we are going to have to do is when they go and review what’s the actual condition of the area and if it’s still not suitable for children to be around then we’ll make another note of that. I don’t know that we can go and do any other thing other than monitoring for right now and make specific recommendations.”

According to Dr Manzanero, it would be up to the Department of the Environment to determine the toxicity of the gas and its origin.