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Apr 4, 2012 9:31 PM by Jacqui Heinrich

Group calls for Jamaica to stop open fires

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - A watchdog group in Jamaica says the island urgently needs tougher standards and enforcement for controlling smoke, soot and microscopic pollutants dispersed in the air from trash fires.

The Jamaica Environment Trust says such pollution poses a serious health hazard.

A government report released this week says alarming levels of volatile organic compounds were dispersed in the air from a fire that burned for more than a week in February at an open-air dump in Kingston. The cancer-causing chemical benzene was detected at three times the World Health Organization's air standards.

The environmental group said Wednesday it hopes the report will lead to improvements in Jamaica's waste management.

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