Crowe slams waste management report
Say no to incineration and yes to reduction reuse and
Incineration and service charges were just two of the serious
issues discussed this week by South Dublin County Council.
The council were holding their first debate on a draft waste
management plan, that proposes building an incineration facility
at Dublin's Poolbeg, as well as imposing refuse collection and
disposal charges of up to £200 per household in the authority
Sinn Féin is opposed to bogus environmental schemes such as
incinerators. This is not waste reduction. Dressing it up as
waste-to-energy schemes is a sham
- Seán Crowe
Sinn Féin councillors Sean Crowe and Mark Daly attended the
meeting and raised a series of important issues about the draft
plan. They highlighted not just the dangers of incineration, but
also a range of other flaws with the plan. Below is an edited
summary of the main parts of Councillor Sean Crowe's presentation
to the debate.
The principle of waste reduction has been overlooked in this
report. There is a clear lack of equity in deciding who should
carry the costs. Rather than seriously ask who is best in a
position to reduce waste generation and carry the costs for this,
the local householder is being targeted as a soft touch.
South Dublin households are being asked to carry the costs for a
plan that will not actually reduce waste, but instead add the new
danger of adopting environmentally hazardous methods of waste
disposal, through the so-called thermal treatment option.
If the Council does not involve itself in serious waste
reduction, the amount of waste produced in the local authority
area will only increase, leaving householders with
ever-increasing refuse service payments.
More importantly, Sinn Féin is opposed to bogus environmental
schemes such as incinerators. This is not waste reduction.
Dressing it up as waste-to-energy schemes is a sham and does
nothing to allay the very real fears that Dublin residents have,
of the toxins and dioxins that could be released into the
INCINERATION NOT AN OPTION
The report proposes that a quarter of the authority's waste will
be `thermally treated'. To those who are more honest this simply
means burning rubbish. Why does the report not tell us where the
ash from these treatment stations will be dumped? The ash from
thermal treatments is more a threat to the environment and
general health than unburned waste.
Incinerators do not contain waste production. They only
perpetuate its production.
The plan makes reference to the 1996 Waste Management Act. This
act and the EU directives on which it was based, makes
substantial reference to the need for actually reducing the
amount of waste created in society. Again, we have to ask why
there is no reference to this very important element of the waste
management hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle)?
Linked to this is the proposal that the polluter pays. Sinn Féin
supports the general proposal that the polluter should pay for
waste they create. However this plan makes the assumption that
the polluter is the consumer.
PRODUCERS ARE POLLUTERS
Can households make the packing of the products they consume more
environmentally friendly? Can they reduce the amount of plastics
and metals used in a product? Can they reduce the amount of
needless packaging used in many of the products sold today? Can
they ensure that the manufacturers of products use recycled and
recyclable products in the goods they produce for sale? The
answer to all these questions is `No'. Yes they can lobby and
protest, but ultimately the ball is in the court of the
manufacturers, not the consumers.
In the 26 Counties the only recognised scheme for waste
collection is run by the employers organisation IBEC through
REPAK. Every waste producer has to pay a levy to REPAK and they
are supposed to fund the collection, disposal and where possible,
the recycling of the waste their members produce.
They are the polluters, as recognised in the legislation, and
they have the means and the mechanisms to pay for the new methods
of waste disposal mentioned in the plan. The bill for these
services should lie at REPAK's door and not be levied on the
households of South Dublin.
This plan has three flaws. It favours incineration and household
levies. It does not include a strategy for waste reduction.
We can be part of a local authority that produces less waste,
recycles much, much more of the waste we do produce and creates
employment and builds on community spirit at the same time.
Sinn Féin want to see many more locally run, community-lead
recycling schemes. We also want to see the real polluters
targeted to pay for the costs of clean up and more importantly,
reduce the waste they generate. It can be done. It just takes the
collective will of the council to recognise the widespread public
support for such a course of action. All we have to take that
first step. Say no to incineration of waste and yes to reduction,
reuse and recycling.