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Cleaning up historic legacy of hazardous waste

Wednesday 14 June 2006

Cleaning up historic legacy of hazardous waste

We’ve cleaned up!

After three years, Bay of Plenty people seem to have got rid of most of the toxic materials lying around in homes, garages and sheds.

A free collection service for household hazardous waste brought in quite a haul over autumn, including several tonnes of old and potentially dangerous agrichemicals like 245-T and DDT.

However, the overall quantities are down on previous years, says Environment Bay of Plenty’s Paul Futter. “We think we may have cleaned out the worst of it,” he says. “We’ve given people several opportunities now and have collected tonnes and tonnes of hazardous products. We’ve been very happy with the response.”

Environment Bay of Plenty worked with local district and city councils to organise collections in six centres in the eastern and western Bay of Plenty. For the first time, they included small rural communities like Te Kaha and Murupara.

Between the 1950s and 1980s, farmers and orchardists often purchased more agrichemicals than they needed for immediate use. By the early 1990s, many farms had stockpiles of unwanted agrichemicals, frequently stored in conditions that were “far from desirable”, Mr Futter explains. “We are dealing here with the historic legacy of past agrichemical practice in New Zealand.”

Environment Bay of Plenty has funded a free drop-off service for unwanted agrichemicals for a number of years. The annual visits by the HazMobile support that service. The Ministry for the Environment also helps by funding the disposal costs of obsolete and banned agrichemicals. These include 245T, Lindane, Deildren and DDT.

The HazMobile collected more of the worst agrichemicals this year than ever before. It logged 4.2 tonnes in total, a tonne more than last year. Most of the products required overseas treatment and disposal because of their toxicity.

Between March and May, the HazMobile set up for a day each in Tauranga, Katikati, Murupara, Te Kaha, Kawerau and Whakatane.

ENDS

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