Incineration debate heating up

I am currently a visitor to your fair city and will be leaving it shortly. However I did have the opportunity to read the article in The News by Kevin Mills and Robert Freeman titled “Trash fight not over.”

Europeans further ahead in waste technology

I am currently a visitor to your fair city and will be leaving it shortly.  However I did have the opportunity to read the article in The News by Kevin Mills and Robert Freeman titled “Trash fight not over.”

I am very dismayed about what you had to say, Ms. Ross.

Apparently you have your head stuck in the sand like an ostrich and know absolutely nothing about Energy From Waste (EFW).

If we keep producing trash at the rate we do, just what do we do with it?  Using landfill sites is just a polite way of saying we are poisoning our land and our ground water.  It cannot be taken out to sea and dumped because it will just wash up on shore again, as well as poison our fish stocks.  We could and can truck it to the U.S. like they do in Toronto at a cost of several million a year, but even they are beginning to object.

I can honestly say the Europeans are further ahead in this technology than us poor backwater immigrants in North America.

What I suggest you do is contact a company like Montreal Engineering and have them send you all the information about the EFW plants, or better still, contact Anne Mulvale, the former Mayor of Oakville, Ontario and talk to her.

To my estimation the best solution is using EFW plants to product the electricity that is becoming so much in demand.

Ms. Ross before creating fear amongst the citizenry of the Fraser Valley, go and learn what the benefits are instead.

G. W, Strachan

Picton, Ontario


Incineration doesn’t belong here

Dear Mr. Strachan,

Actually, I know quite a lot about Waste-to-Energy for solid waste. I’ve done three years of international research. I’ve also travelled Europe quite a bit and have been in touch with the medical and scientific community that has studied this issue extensively.

In addition, the Fraser Valley Regional District commissioned an independant evaluation by well-respected UBC scientist Ian McKendry to study the advisability of locating such a facility in this particular airshed, who concluded there was far too much to risk building one here.

You should know we have one of the most unique, threatened and already overstressed airsheds in the world that confines pollutants here. We already have too high a degree of people suffering from health problems related to the pollution. In addition, we produce 60 per cent of the province’s farm receipts, so our food supply would be at risk as well as our extremely rich and rare ecosystems.

We object to any new significant point source of air pollution, particularly one that we don’t even have the technology to adequately measure and monitor the many toxic pollutants from – even with the very best of today’s technology.

Certainly not when it is so unnecessary, since they have several other options. Of all the pollution in our Fraser Valley, we only generate 14 per cent of it. 57 per cent is from Metro Vancouver and 29 from the U.S. We feel we have a right to be respected when we say “enough.”

Last year, in response to us repeatedly pointing out our sensitive airshed, Metro Vancouver said that there were many waste incinerators in airsheds just like ours, so we asked them to please list them and their geographic and meteorological features. After technical analysis, we found that not one of them had the same challenges as ours. To date, we have not been able to find any airsheds like ours where there are incinerators – let alone any success stories.

So even if you feel incineration of waste is an acceptable way to deal with our waste, sensitive and confined airsheds are not the place for them. Even a consultant from Europe that Metro Vancouver brought out a few years back said as much.

Incineration of waste is not the success story the industry would have you believe.

There are increasing bans, calls for bans, massive protests, lawsuits against them and shutdowns because they don’t live up to their promises.

Even if you do want to call Europe’s experience a success, that wouldn’t translate here because our waste is 20 times more toxic than Europe’s due to the many more chemicals and toxins allowed in our products and packaging than is allowed in Europe.

This is already proven by the disastrous experience with incinerating waste in the US where their waste stream is similar to Canada’s.

Patricia Ross