AFTER five days under a cloud of toxic smoke Port of Spain was almost back to normal yesterday, with only a hint of the acrid air that had all but shut it down.
Schools and business that had been forced to close their doors and send their occupants home several times during the week were reopened yesterday, with a few people and pupils missing here and there as they had stayed home to recover from the effects of the smoky siege.
In Sea Lots, businesses which had closed for most of the week, including National Petroleum, were back to operations as usual.
Complaints rolled in from many downtown businesses, however that they are now left with major losses in sales and transactional business.
“People are obviously steering clear of the city until they are sure that all the bacchanal and smoke has cleared,” said one businessman on Frederick Street.
“It’s payday Friday, and the place is nearly dead.”
The city’s plight began last Sunday, when about a dozen fires started at the Beetham landfill.
By Monday, the smaller fires had been put out but a few stubborn blazes remained and by Tuesday, some continued to smolder deep under the compacted layers of waste.
Smoke billowed out, streaming into the city and with wind conditions changing to unfavourable by Wednesday, Port of Spain and environs were lost in smoke. The air itself was clearer than it had been in days, a result of light rain and winds that were blowing out to sea.
The Solid Waste Management Co Ltd (Swmcol) also reported that one remaining smoldering area had been extinguished.