Letter from GAINS to Andrew Robertson, Chairman of Glasgow NHS, 12 Dec 2011, and his reply
Andrew Robertson, Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
12 December 2011
Dear Mr Robertson
INCINERATOR – STOP CRAPPING ON POOR PEOPLE
Waste companies like to build incinerators in poor areas like Polmadie, because poor people are least able to articulate their opposition. Poor urban communities are also particularly vulnerable to health effects of waste incinerators, as they often have high pollution levels already. That is why Derby City Council rejected plans for a waste gasification incinerator last year, and why the company failed in its appeal.[i]
Don’t believe the slick marketing about how safe modern incinerators are. The Baldovie incinerator, built in 2000 in one of the poorest parts of Dundee, was caught emitting 102 times the legal limit for dioxins in 2008.[ii] Measurement of dioxins is only required twice a year[iii], normally organised by the plant management.
The type of incineration proposed, known as gasification, is still unproven.[iv] The only working example in the UK is on the Isle of Wight. In June this year the local Council announced that it was seeking alternative methods of waste management because it had proved so unreliable.[v]
No one wants incinerators near them. That is why Lancashire County Council has completely rejected all forms of waste incineration.[vi] San Francisco has done likewise, and is aiming for 100% recycling by 2020.[vii]
In addition to health concerns, there are many environmental reasons for rejecting incineration:
· Incineration/gasification recovers a tenth of the energy used to make the products in our rubbish[viii] (74% of greenhouse gas emissions come from energy[ix]).
· Recycling recovers 3-6 times more energy than incineration[x]
· Incineration represents the emission of 5 tonnes of CO2 from every tonne of waste that is burnt (3 tonnes from making the products in our rubbish and up to 2 tonnes from the combustion process).[xi]
· More and more things are being recycled, such as disposable nappies[xii] and Tetrapak drinks cartons.[xiii] If something can’t be recycled, we shouldn’t be making it.
To sum up, incineration is bad for human health and bad for the environment. Please do what you can to persuade colleagues in Glasgow City Council to reject the Polmadie waste gasifier proposal.
Michael Gallagher, Secretary
[i] ‘Derby victor in Sinfin appeal’, 16 November 2010
[ii] SEPA – Emission breaches summary 2006-8, see foot of page 2, which mentions an elevated dioxin/furan result of 10.2ng/m3, compared to the emission limit of 0.1ng/m3
[iii] See section 5.6 of Waste Incineration (Scotland) Regulations 2003: Practical Guidance: Edition 2.
[iv] The Department of Energy & Climate Change described gasification as: “. . . emerging and unproven technologies for the treatment of waste biomass and mixed municipal waste where there are number of technical issues to resolve, for example, achieving intended throughput and air emission standards.” – see s12.2 of their report here (pdf file).
[vi] Lancashire County Council Waste Management Strategy - page 14 states: "This Strategy confirms the Authorities stance regarding the alternatives to incineration. Accordingly, the County Council continues to oppose the siting of any proposal for mass burn incineration of municipal waste in any Lancashire District."
[viii] Morris, J. Garbage or Biomass Incineration/Combustion/Gasification Warning Labels, p1
[ix] From the website of ‘Good Energy’
[x] Up in smoke: Why Friends of the Earth opposes incineration, Friends of the Earth Briefing Note, p6
[xi] Petition to the Scottish Parliament, number 1379 ‘Green Alternatives to Incineration in Scotland’, page 2 (section headed ‘Global warming’)
Dear Mr Gallagher