A significant fire at the Suwung Landfill in Denpasar led to the evacuation of 57 affected residents to the Serangan Village Head Office on Saturday.
The evacuees, hailing from 15 families, comprise 33 adults, 17 children, and 7 toddlers. I Wayan Karma, Head of the Serangan Subdistrict, mentioned that these residents are primarily immigrants from Banyuwangi who moved to the area seeking employment, predominantly as scavengers.
“These individuals, initially seeking refuge at SDN 2 Serangan school, eventually settled upon the offer to stay at the sub-district office,” Karma stated.
The Denpasar City Government’s Social and Health Services are providing health checks and support to these evacuees. “We are closely coordinating with the appropriate departments and continually assessing the situation,” Karma added.
The fire’s impact reached schools in proximity to the landfill, including SDN 5 Pedungan, located less than a kilometer northwest of the site. Due to smoke infiltration and the accompanying odor, the school dismissed students early. Ni Nyoman Kerni, the school’s principal, recounted the effects of the smoke, saying, “When the smoke first entered our premises around 14:30 on the 12th, we were unsure of its origin. Upon realizing it emanated from the landfill fire, we promptly sent students home by 15:00, especially as the situation deteriorated with black smoke inundating our buildings.”
The following day, smoke once again affected the school around 11:00 WITA, leading to another early dismissal. Kerni noted the fire’s detrimental health impacts on the school’s 562 students, many of whom presented symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.
Residents farther from the landfill, including those living approximately 6 km away on Jalan Gunung Soputan III, reported smoke reaching their homes. Concerns about health ramifications, especially for vulnerable populations like children, continue to rise.
In response to the escalating situation, Denpasar’s Mayor, I Gusti Ngurah Jaya Negara, declared an Emergency Response Status for the Suwung Landfill Fire on Thursday, emphasizing the efforts to extinguish the flames. “We’ve deployed at least 17 fire trucks in collaboration with various regional governments and the Bali Police Water Cannon. Our prime objective is to contain and extinguish this fire swiftly,” Jaya Negara commented.
The mayor’s directive also extends to broader community support, including establishing health posts, distributing masks, and managing traffic. Jaya Negara said, “We’re actively liaising with local community leaders to ensure residents experiencing health issues due to the smoke get immediate treatment at community health centers.”
In the wake of the fire disrupting waste transportation, coordination is underway with neighboring districts to accommodate waste from Denpasar City temporarily until the fire is fully contained.