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Cuban scientists were present in fire fight in Matanzas

Havana, Jan 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuban scientists played an important role in confronting the large-scale fire that occurred at the Matanzas supertanker base in August 2022, local media reported on Saturday.

Researchers from the Center for Information Management and Energy Development (Cubaenergia), the Agency for Nuclear Energy and Advanced Technologies (Aenta), the Center for Atmospheric Pollution and Chemistry of the Institute of Meteorology, and the Center for Environmental Studies of Cienfuegos participated in the effort.

Some of the papers were based on the application of mathematical modeling to determine the probable maximum concentrations emitted from the main polluting compounds and their location.

The use of these tools was fundamental in making decisions focused on preventing harmful impacts on the health of the local residents most exposed to air pollution, and in establishing sampling sites, which were located in the provinces from Matanzas, Mayabeque and Havana.

Cubaenergia specialist Elieza Meneses explained that among the mathematical models used, the one that made it possible to estimate, during the days of the incident, the direction of the polluting clouds and the affected areas stands out.

Likewise, the air quality forecast, prepared from the outputs of the Silam model, belonging to the set of models of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring System program, was extremely useful, Meneses stated.

The collection, review and analysis of air quality measurements in the aforementioned territories was vital to characterize the behavior of such an important indicator in those very places of the Cuban archipelago.

It was possible to estimate the emissions of atmospheric pollutants in the different scenarios, the Granma newspaper reported.

From the start of the fire, it was possible to define the areas that would receive the strongest effects and the location of the maximum concentrations of pollutants that could be reached.

It was possible to estimate the relationship of the main gases emitted by the fire, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10), benzene, carbon monoxide, naphthalene and volatile organic compounds.

Thanks to the scientists, it was possible analyze the composition of aerosols generated during and after the fire, in addition to checking the air quality.

The incident occurred on the night of August 5 when an electrical discharge during a storm impacted fuel storage tank 52 of the Supertankers Base, located in the industrial zone of the city of Matanzas.

The flames – put out with the help of means and specialized forces from Venezuela and Mexico – devastated four tanks, each with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters of fuel (50 million liters).