May 31, 2023
Favona metal plant smoke covers south Auckland
The chief medical officer for Te Aka Whai Ora says industrial fires like the one at the Sims Metal recycling centre near Favona plant can be a major health threat to surrounding communities.
A mass cell phone alarm went out just after 9am warning residents in Mangere, Otahuhu and Papatoetoe to keep their doors and windows closed to keep out the toxic smoke.
Speaking shortly after to Radio Waatea, Dr Rawiri McKree Jansen says there would be a lot of people in the area with asthma and other respiratory conditions, and the increased capacity to issue such warnings is an important public health step.
“Put the alert up nice and early so people can act and can protect themselves. It will be a worry. Industrial fires often do have quite a lot of toxic fumes so it will be a worry to people locally there but the right thing to do is to close the windows and stay as safe as you can indoors,” he says.
The warning was extended this afternoon to Greenlane, Ellerslie, Mt Wellington and Penrose, with residents as far away as Beachlands saying they could smell the smoke.