| "Energy from Waste is bad for our health"|
| What the County Council Says|| Looking at it another way ...|
|The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is an independent UK organisation that was set up by the government to protect the public from threats to their health. In its latest report, which reviews the latest scientific evidence on the health effects of modern municipal waste incinerators, the HPA concludes that: ‘any potential damage from facilities is likely to be so small that it would be undetectable.’ |
In July 2008 the Health Protection Agency set up a new study of the
possible health effects of human exposure to nanoparticles (the smaller
particles which even modern day incinerators do not filter from
escaping into the atmosphere – nor are they tested for by The
The National Nanotoxicology Research Centre (NNRC) is a research facility which will look into nanoparticles and their interaction with the human body. They state that “Knowledge of the possible interactions between nanomaterials and the body is developing rapidly. NNRC will focus, initially, on the behaviour of nanomaterials that enter the body via the lung and skin. The transportation of nanomaterials in the body will be studied and special emphasis will be placed on investigating the bio-kinetics of nanoparticles. This will involve studies of their entry into the body, their distribution within and their removal from the body.”
There is a lot of research on the internet by eminent scientists and doctors who have all come to the conclusion that incineration has the potential to affect human health. Some of these effects may not be detectable in the short term but show up later.
As recently as July 2009 Stephania Cormier PhD, has shown for the first time that early exposure in infancy to environmentally persistent free radicals (present in airborne ultrafine particulate matter) affects long-term lung function into adulthood.
|"Energy from Waste plants release harmful levels of toxins and CO2 that are bad for the environment"|
| What the County Council Says||Looking at it another way ...|
|Energy from Waste plants are actually thought to help to prevent global warming and other pollution impacts by diverting waste away from landfill. More specifically, due to advances in designs and stringent new governmental regulations, incinerators emit virtually no dioxins.|
Minimising any environmental impact from the facility is one of our key considerations when assessing bidders and we are confident that the options returned by our bidders will enable us to meet this aim. Any plant developed in Hertfordshire will be subject to tight emissions standards set by The Environment Agency and make a very small contribution to the background levels of air pollution.
Energy from Waste is not the only way of dealing with waste other than
landfill. There are less harmful ways of dealing with waste by more
intelligent application of separation techniques.
Dioxins are dangerous. There is no safe level and saying ‘virtually no dioxins’ means there will be some. This is unacceptable. They build up primarily in fatty tissues over time so even small exposures may eventually reach dangerous levels in humans and in animals. This will affect local livestock and dairy products.
The emissions standards set by the Environment Agency only deal with particles down to a certain size. The smaller, more dangerous particles do not form part of their testing procedures. Also the testing of some emissions is only required to happen twice each year.
Any contribution to background air pollution is unacceptable. ‘Small contributions’ will build up in air, water, soil, plants, animals and humans over time.
|"Incineration stops people recycling"|
|What the County Council Says||Looking at it another way ...|
|Recycling is a priority for the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership which has set a target of at least 50% recycling by 2012 and is fully committed to helping Hertfordshire’s residents achieve this. This would see Hertfordshire reach Government targets of 50% recycling eight years ahead of the national target.|
Countries like Germany combine a 67% recycling rate (one of the highest in the world) with a 32% incineration rate and only 1% of waste being sent to landfill – proving that high levels of incineration are compatible with high levels of recycling.
Now that Hertfordshire County Council has started the domestic waste
recycling programme in earnest it must be congratulated for that and
also that it wants to exceed the government targets, but far more waste
can be recycled. Hertfordshire can aim to be a leading zero waste
county in the UK, just as California has achieved in the USA.
Hertfordshire’s businesses and industries also need a recycling programme for their commercial waste, led by a visionary Council. If a recycling programme can be set up for domestic waste then surely it must be possible to recycle commercial waste, rather than burn most of it?
Recycling helps businesses (by helping them to save money), helps the local economy with jobs and helps conserve natural resources. You only have to look at the California experience to see the potential benefits from dealing with waste more imaginatively.
Comparing Hertfordshire with Germany is not valid. German waste incineration firms are importing massive amounts of toxic waste from all over the world. Their high-tech incinerators only make economic sense if they are used at or near full capacity but they do not have enough waste to burn.
Recycling and incineration compete for the same waste. Waste, once burnt, cannot be recycled.
|"It was always a done deal that Hertfordshire would get EfW at New Barnfield" [in Hatfield]|
|What the County Council Says||Looking at it another way ...|
|Hertfordshire County Council has been technology and site neutral throughout the procurement process. Evaluation criteria have been set to make sure that the solutions bidders presented were robust, deliverable, flexible, affordable and environmentally sound. This still allowed bidders to propose which ever technology and whatever sites they felt most appropriate to meet Hertfordshire’s waste management needs. Having considered these needs, all bidders proposed Energy from Waste as the most appropriate technology solution.|
Being technology and site neutral means that the bidders will submit
proposals which make them most profit. Energy from Waste incinerators
makes huge profits for the operators. There is another and safer way to
burn waste and produce electricity, plasma arc gasification, but this provides smaller profits
for operators and still takes waste from the recycling loop.
Can we be surprised that “all bidders proposed Energy from Waste as the most appropriate technology solution”?
Hertfordshire should be leading the bidders into submitting proposals which meet the waste management needs but at the same time Hertfordshire’s residents also require that the waste management process is modern and respects people and the environment.