Garbage Incineration

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This summer, the government released proposed changes to the Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Assessment Act. The aim is to pave the way for pilot incineration projects that would last as long as five years, with up to 75 tonnes of garbage burned daily.”  1

Countries which are “more environmentally conscious 2 than Canada, “extensively 2 use technologies like modern incineration, plasma arc gasification, and energy generation from waste.

One of the things which bothers me about burning garbage is that such convenience supports “out of sight, out of mind” behaviour. If we can simply truck it away without even having to agonize about finding someplace to bury it, what prospect is there that we will ever curb our consumption habits?

Despite the claims of people who trumpet such practises, how safe is it exactly? Do we know with sufficient confidence that what is pumped out of them into the air will not “come back to bite us” in the future?

Consider all of the pesticides and other chemicals once thought to be safe, their use now regulated or banned because of new knowledge. Shouldn’t the precautionary principle be used here also?

While incineration might reduce the need for landfill space, critics argue the technology is unproven and will result in air pollution and cost more energy than it creates.”  1

Sources:

1. “Incinerator talk burns critics”; unidentified CP reporter; Toronto Sun; 2006/10/02

2. “City needs lasting solution on trash”; Michael Warren; Toronto Star; 2006/10/09

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