Tuesday 5 August 2014

"The Great Dragon" Incineration (what you "need-to-know")...

Quote; "Why is it that our local councils can only afford to collect our recyclable and non-recycled goods separately on a fortnightly basis?
The answer is that the government invests half the waste management budget in municipal waste incineration.
Government investment in the incinerator option meant that the current Unitary Authority of Southampton was presented with a 'fait accompli', before the dissolution of the former Hampshire County Council and therefore before a Southampton area majority against the decision could become effective in council. A process in which certain media institutions in the city colluded.
Everywhere incinerators scrounge oil based wastes from the waste stream. In N.Ireland a member of The Environment Committee in the national government, who had made his name in the waste management business, was exposed as flogging non-sorted waste from his recycling plant to the municipal waste incinerator in Liverpool!
The national government invests half our money in recycling (really?), and half in incineration. Unfortunately one represents a sustainable technology the other does not (think about it, oil is consumed it is never re-used in the incineration process).
No one has so far stood to account for the Liverpool Incinerator's actions, again why?
(Materials Reclamation Facility known as "Murph", never buy a used anything from this Irishman!)
The oxymoron that is "An Unsustainable Economy" will surely be understood as such by any generations we may be fortunate enough to be the antecedents of.
Also, I too was in favour of waste incineration when the idea was first mooted in the early '80s, however logical analysis shows (as it does with the Nuclear Power/CO2 production debate), that the philosophy that informs the idea is (unfortunately), redundant." Go to: https://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/whats-that-coming-over-hill.html

Quote: "Is incineration safe?

    This is an issue I have followed for 25 years. The issue that peaked my interest was the incredible fact that simply by burning household trash we make the most toxic substances that we have ever been able to make in a chemical laboratory: polyhalogenated dibenzo para dioxins and furans (PCDDs, PCDFs, PBDDs, PBDFs etc) called "dioxins" for short. There are literally thousands of these substances. There is no question that over 25 years the industry has got better at capturing these pollutants but we are still hostage as to how well the plants are designed and operated, monitored and the regulations enforced. In addition to this, incineration releases many toxic metals from otherwise fairly stable matrices. At worst these metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium etc) go into the air, at best they are captured in the fly ash in the air pollution control devices (APC). But it is a truism to state that the better the APC the more toxic the ash becomes. Where is this ash going to go? In Germany and Switzerland the fly ash is put into nylon bags and deposited in salt mines. In Japan a number of the incinerators vitrify the ash, making it into a glass-like material, but that takes a huge amount of energy away from the system. Do you know where the ash is going in this proposal?

    For every four tons of trash burned you get at least one ton of ash: 90% is called bottom ash (that is the ash collected under the furnace) and 10% is the very toxic fly ash.

    The formidable issue of nanoparticles.

    There is nothing new about nanoparticles, which are particle of less than one micron in diameter. They are produced in any high temperature combustion which includes vehicles, coal-fired power stations, industrial boilers etc. What is new is nanotechnology where these particles, which have very unusual properties, are being used in many commercial products from shaving cream to tennis rackets. This has raised the question of whether they have any negative health effects. That question has given rise to a new discipline called nanotoxicology. It turns out that these particles have exquisite biological properties which are very worrying. They are so tiny that they can cross the lung membrane and enter the bloodstream. Once there they can enter every tissue in the body including the brain. The problem with incineration is twofold: a) because every object in commerce is likely to end up in an incinerator any toxic element used in these products is likely to end up in the nanoparticles. The nanoparticles from incinerators are the most dangerous of any common source. b) There are NO regulations in the world for the monitoring nanoparticles from incinerators. In most countries the particles regulated are 10 microns and above.In some countries they regulate particles at 2.5 microns. But neither standard comes close to monitoring nanoparticles. We are flying blind on this crucial issue.

    I have attached a very important paper on this issue from Dr. Vyvyan Howard from Northern Ireland. I know Vyvyan very well and he is one of the brightest people I have ever met. He co-authored a book on nanoparticles in 1999. The attached paper was delivered in 2009 in a hearing on an incinerator proposed for Ireland. It is the most up to date review of the issue of nanoparticles and incineration available. Before any new incinerator is built in India, or anywhere else for that matter, government officials (or the public) should force the project director to produce a scientific response to the key questions posed in this paper. If they cannot do so, then clearly building such a plant is taking a reckless gamble with the public's health. Moreover, if we return to the opening of this statement, such a gamble cannot be justified on either economic or environmental grounds, both local and global." Go to: http://www.no-burn.org/why-incineration-is-a-very-bad-idea-in-the-twenty-first-century

    Quote: "Since the publication of this report, important new data has
    been published strengthening the evidence that fine particulate
    pollution plays an important role in both cardiovascular and
    cerebrovascular mortality (see section 3.1) and demonstrating that
    the danger is greater than previously realised. More data has also
    been released on the dangers to health of ultrafine particulates
    and about the risks of other pollutants released from incinerators
    (see section 3.4). With each publication the hazards of incineration
    are becoming more obvious and more difficult to ignore.
    In the light of this data and the discussion provoked by our
    report, we have extended several sections. In particular, the
    section on alternative waste technologies (section 8) has been
    extensively revised and enlarged." Go to: http://www.bsem.org.uk/uploads/IncineratorReport_v3.pdf
    Quote: ""The ever-increasing number of damaged babies being born around incinerators should be taken as a strong warning that the ‘experts’ and their friendly politicians are deliberately playing down overwhelming evidence of serious harm to suit industry’s financial interests, and, as it has been shown many times before, in many cases, their own."
    Even the most modern incinerators produce a deadly cocktail of chemicals, heavy metals and fine particulates. The chimney stacks of municipal waste incinerators typically discharge: aluminium, antimony, arsenic, beryllium, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silver, thallium, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, vanadium, zinc and zirconium; carbon monoxide, dioxins and furans, PCBs, PAHs, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapour, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter.

    Below is some further information about just two of these - dioxins and PM2.5 particles.
    Incinerators are one of the main sources of dioxins (see BBC report). The first disease associated with dioxins was the extreme skin disease chloracne. It causes acne like pustules to form across the body and can last for several years. Most concerns now lie with the potential of dioxins to cause cancer, but they are also suspected of affecting reproductive health, lowering sperm counts, causing behavioural problems and increasing the incidence of diabetes. There is a growing body of research indicating that dioxins can cause such diseases. The monitoring of dioxins is wholly inadequate.

    Fine Particles - PM2.5s (references at foot of page)
    According to a statement by the European Commission in October, 370,000 people die prematurely each year in Europe as a result of air pollution, 350,000 of them because of PM2.5 particles, i.e. particles that are less than 2.5 micrometers in size (Ref 1). Most of the particles emitted by incinerators are PM2.5s (Ref 2, page 9).
    Reports from Greenpeace (Ref 3, page 11) and the British Society of Ecological Medicine (Ref 2, page 9) state that incinerator filters only remove 5-30% of PM2.5s from emissions. The monitoring of PM2.5s is as inadequate as the monitoring of dioxins.

    Even now the government backed Health Protection Agency dismisses the effect of fine particulates from incinerators, pointing to figures from Defra from 2006 indicating that waste incineration contributed only 0.3% of the national emissions of air pollution particulates PM10, compared to 27% for traffic and 25% for industry (see article from 3 Sep 09).

    However, Dr Vyvyan Howard's Statement of Evidence to the Ringaskiddy incinerator inquiry in Ireland, dated June 2009, explains that the ultrafine particulates from incinerators are particularly dangerous because they carry a range of toxins including dioxins, PCBs and metals (see Dr Howard's report, 'Particulate Emissions and Health').

    EurActiv.com Web Portal - Article on air quality standards
    The Health Effects of Waste Incinerators, 2005, The British Society for Ecological Medicine
    Incineration and Human Health, Greenpeace, 2001, (PDF document, 400kb)
    World Health Organisation Air Quality Guidelines, Executive Summary
    Environmental Statement, Sita - in PDF format - Scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the link to ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT VOL. 2 : (SECTIONS 8 - 15).

    Breaches of emission limits

    The safety record of even the most modern incinerators is patchy at best. For example the DERL energy-from-waste incinerator in Dundee was built in 2000. SEPA reports that in November 2007 the plant was in breach of emission limits for particulates, dioxins, furans and metals.[1] The following year it failed an Operator Performance Assessment by breaching limits for dioxins and furans.[2] Both of these breaches occurred in spite of the installation of £1.2m of new clean up technology in 2004.[3] For a full list of emission breaches since 2006, click here.

    Some might say that a couple of emission breaches over a two-year period doesn’t sound too serious. The problem is that operators only have to measure dioxins twice a year, as stipulated by s5.6 of Scottish Government guidelines on incineration.[4] Therefore the problem could have been going on for months before the inspection. Equally, previous measurements may have been taken on a day when things just happened to be a little better than normal. Dr Jeremy Thompson of the British Society for Ecological Medicine states that at the very least there ought to be continual measurements of dioxins.

    [1] SEPA, East Region Board Meeting, 25 April 2008, s2.3.4.

    [2] SEPA, Operator Performance Assessment 2008.

    [3] Rob Edwards, Revealed: pollution failures, Sunday Herald, 30 May 2004.

    [4] Scottish Government Guidelines on incineration, s5.6" Go to: http://www.teag.org.uk/toxicemissions.htm

    Quote: "Recycling in Europe is in danger. Excessive incineration capacity in some countries is causing that recyclable waste ends up being burned and that some other increase their waste shipments losing incentives to recycle.

    Today English waste is shipped to the Netherlands, Italian waste to Germany, Norwegian waste to Sweden... Nobody knows exactly how much waste is being shipped across European borders for incineration. What we do know is that recycling could be radically improved and citizens are paying huge sums for the construction and operation of plants that burn resources that we should be sharing with future generations.

    The European Union is contradicting itself. Every year Europeans burn more and more waste (69,5 million tons of waste between 2007 and 2010) while the EU has pledged to phase out incineration of recyclable waste by 2020. Yet, several new plants are being planned and/or are under construction now. It makes no sense to build new incinerators when countries such as Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Holland and Sweden have more incineration capacity than trash to burn.

    Our throw-away lifestyle is trashing our future, and incinerators are a good example of unsustainability. Investment needs to go into redesign, reduce, reuse and recycle activities - not to plants that waste valuable resources.

    Please ask the Environment Commissioner to change the legal and economic incentives necessary to redirect the funds that now go to incineration." Go to: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/STOP_BUILDING_WASTE_INCINERATORS_IN_EUROPE/?aHmhNhb

     Having campaigned extensively on this myself with "Communities Against Toxins Southampton" and made presentations on the subject of incinerator waste dumping, recycling labeling and policy I would advise the reader that in all cases of the above the actual situation is much worse than the picture one may have garnered from these already heavily critical articles.

    There is no "safe" level of exposure, like plutonium these highly active particles are genotoxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic at any exposure level above zero!

    (see if I can dig up the seminal interview on that will let you know when I've found it).

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