Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Doctors urge halt to waste incineration


Doctors urge halt to waste incineration

Fallout `harming people and wildlife'

Chris Benfield

WASTE incinerators are dangerous and no more should be built, say doctors - just as the Government is encouraging councils to increase their numbers.

The warning comes as Ministers today unveil a draft waste disposal strategy promoting incineration as the answer to England's waste crisis.

A junior Minister in the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Ben Bradshaw, will launch the document which says incineration must be part of the solution.

However, a new report from a British doctors' group, which puts them on the side of "green"campaigners,says incinerators are a health hazard that can cause higher rates of adult and childhood cancer and also birth defects around municipal waste incinerators.

The British Society for Ecological Medicine (BSEM), a professional body for specialists in allergies, poisons and other environmental health factors, says it has been convinced that the fallout is harming people, animals and fish. Incinerators should go to the bottom of the list of options for dealing with waste and not one more should be built, the report says.

Instead it recommends more modern ways of dealing with waste, such as recycling.

The authors also argue that incineration is contrary to international law giving people the right to a healthyenvironment.

The report was written by two BSEM members - Jeremy Thompson, a GP in retired expert on allergies and statistics, Honor Anthony, who formerly worked at Airedale Hospital, Keighley and still lives in Leeds.

The president of the BSEM, Damien Downing, said yesterday that planners were declaring incinerators safe on the basis of out-of- date information and computerised predictions which were no better than tossing acoin.

He added: "We recommend the introduction of a stricter and more comprehensive system for the monitoring of all waste burning plants."

The BSEM report says it is no longer safe to ignore research, largely from America, which strongly suggests that invisible and unstoppable micro-particles of metals, radioactive materials and medicines are dangerous by-products of incinerators. They get deep into people's lungs and set up reactions which cause birth defects, heart disease and possibly even psychiatric illness, as well as respiratory problems.

Environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth has predicted 22 new incinerators will be built Hull and East Yorkshire councils propose to build one in East Hull, after failing with a similar plan in the 1990s. Leeds also wants one and York and North Yorkshire are considering the possibility. Sheffield and Huddersfield already have them.

Sheffield's is at the heart of a city-centre heating system while Kirklees Council is considering a similar proposal for Huddersfield. Leeds is also proposing to use the energy from incineration in some way, because it is a popular solution with voters.

1 comment:

Lilian said...

A few facts:
Rugby Cement burns more "total material" in a year than all the incinerators in England.

Warwickshire County Council want to build an incinerator see "Rugby Advertiser February 9th: Council officers defend £100m incinerator plans." At the meeting to discuss this "waste strategey" we learned that the total of all Warwickshire's household waste to be collected and disposed of in the next TEN years weighs the same as the maerials burnt in the Rugby Cement plant EACH year - three million tonnes (depending on how many break-downs they have!) You wonder why they just do not burn it in the cement kiln, after all it is only about 300,000 tonnes a year, only about a month's worth!

How many incinerators do you think it takes to equate to the emissions of the Rugby Cement Co-incinerator plant? Rugby is the town where the Environment Agency say that the burning of waste and tyres is good for us - well perhaps not exactly good for us, but an "improvement on the coal burning emissions" that is going on currently. Why are all these doctors worried about incineration - look at Rugby. No dead bodies in the street, so if a massive cement kiln the equivalent of let's say the capacity of all the incinerators in England is not bad for we tough Rugby residents, then why are they making all that FUSS? They must have been listening to the wrong people ? Doctors eh, what do they know about health? They must ask the real experts, they should ask the Environment Agency and Rugby Borough Council Environmental Health Officers and they will put them straight - tell them how wonderfully good waste burning is for the public health! What is wrong with these northern wimps? Bring on a few more thousand tonnes of waste, Rugby residents are tough, and we are not dead yet!