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Incinerating waste is a waste

August 10, 2012

CAP feels that burning waste will do more damage than good because of the toxic fumes.

GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) objects the government’s intention of constructing incinerators to dispose of waste.

CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said that incinerators were toxic to public health, harmful to the economy, environment and climate, and undermines recycling programmes.

He said that a variety of adverse health effects including cancer, respiratory disease, and disruption of the endocrine system were caused by pollutants from incinerators.

In the end, he said the public would have to bear the financial burden of incineration as costs of installation, operation and maintenance were high.

“Communities would also be burdened by increasing health costs as they suffer illnesses associated with incinerator emissions,” he said.

It is reported that the government would open an international tender for the construction of an “eco-friendly” incinerator from December 2012 to April 2013.

Idris said that the notion that there were eco-friendly incinerators was wrong, a deception invented by incinerator companies to hoodwink people due to protest by communities against incinerators.

He said studies have indicated that distant populations can be exposed to pollution from incinerators by ingesting contaminated plant or animal products.

The Housing and Local Government Minister Chor Chee Heung has said that the Department of Environment (DOE) would monitor hazardous gases, fumes and other gases emitted by the incinerator round-the-clock.

But Idris said it would not be possible to monitor all emissions as installing continuous monitoring systems and conducting stack tests were expensive and would subsequently push up the cost of operating incinerators.

Furthermore, he said even modern incinerators with costly state-of-the-art pollution control devices do not eliminate or adequately control toxic emissions from today’s chemically complex municipal waste.

A report by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives states that cities such as Buenos Aires (Argentina), Canberra (Australia), Oakland (US), Nova Scotia (Canada) have made great progress towards achieving zero waste.

Idris said these cities were building recycling and composting parks, implementing innovative collection systems, requiring products to be safe and recyclable, and creating locally-based jobs.

“The Malaysian government should scrap existing incinerators and impose a ban on waste incineration,” he said.


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