Rub­bish fires mak­ing life un­bear­able

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

A Waikato woman has be­come a pris­oner in her own home due to con­stant rub­bish burn-offs which sur­round her house in smoke.

It’s not the kind of life­style Marie-jeanne Li­cari ex­pected on mov­ing from Auck­land to Pu­taruru.

She says she con­stantly has to shut her­self in­doors while smoke bil­lows around her house dur­ing the three to four times a week sur­round­ing neigh­bours burn-off large quan­ti­ties of rub­bish.

Li­cari said her health had de­clined since she moved to Myr­tle Grove in April last year.

‘‘At times there is so much smoke you think the house is on fire,’’ she said.

‘‘I have to live with ev­ery­thing closed, I can’t get any fresh air in the house. I am be­ing fu­mi­gated like a blim­min’ bug.

‘‘It gets into ev­ery­thing and my eyes have been sore for months now and my breath­ing is not right.

‘‘I lived in Auck­land for 40 years and never had th­ese health is­sues. My eyes have never been so red.’’

She said her neigh­bours were ver­bally abu­sive when she con­fronted them.

‘‘I can’t go and see them be­cause the two times I have I got a mouth full of abuse,’’ she said.

Li­cari said the South Waikato

‘‘At times there is so much smoke you think the house is on fire.’’ Marie-jeanne Li­cari

Dis­trict Coun­cil had been of lit­tle help.

‘‘I am not im­pressed be­cause the coun­cil is ba­si­cally al­low­ing them to con­tinue do­ing it.

South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Sina Tolo­vae said a per­mit must be ob­tained be­fore light­ing any fire in an ur­ban area and fail­ure to com­ply could re­sult in a fine.

‘‘The coun­cil can pros­e­cute if peo­ple are burn­ing fires with­out per­mits, how­ever our pre­ferred method is al­ways ed­u­ca­tion over fin­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘At the first com­plaint our ru­ral fire of­fi­cer Ian Wellings car­ried out a site visit and dis­cov­ered that the res­i­dent was in fact burn­ing an open air ur­ban fire with­out a per­mit. Mr Wellings in­structed that the fire be put out.

‘‘Two more com­plaints have been re­ceived since. On both oc­ca­sions the res­i­dent had a per­mit for the burn­ing and the fires them­selves were of a man­age­able level, how­ever Mr Wellings re­quested on one in­stance that the fire be put out any­way to which the res­i­dent will­ingly did so.’’

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Marie-jeanne Li­cari be­lieves smoke from her neigh­bours burn­ing rub­bish is mak­ing her sick.

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