Supt Andrea McMullan leading hunt for those behind illegal dumping of waste

A nine-year-old boy is fighting for his life after coming into contact with a hazardous substance at a west Belfast bonfire site over the weekend.

Police have been clearing the scene at Glenwood Street after drums containing a substance were dumped at the site.

They said symptoms could take up to 36 hours to become visible.

The symptoms could include redness of the eyes, sore throats, coughing and breathing difficulties.

Superintendent Andrea McMullan said: “A young boy is currently receiving treatment in hospital after it is believed he came into contact with this hazardous substance at the site.

“We are concerned that a number of other young people in the area could have potentially come into contact with this substance and are asking parents/guardians whose children may have visited this bonfire site to closely monitor them.

“The symptoms, which may include redness of the eyes and sore throats coughing and breathing difficulties can take up to 36 hours to become visible.

“I would encourage anyone who has concerns about their children to seek medical advice immediately. Any clothing or skin that may have been exposed should be washed to remove residual chemicals that may be left on them.”

The boy is currently in intensive care in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Local PSNI Inspector Laura Kelly said: “We received a call from a member of the public earlier today, who was concerned that their young son, who is currently receiving treatment in hospital, may have come into contact with some sort of substance at the bonfire site.

“We immediately began an investigation into this incident and are working with our Fire and Rescue Service colleagues and partner agencies to identify the source of these containers and have them safely removed.”


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