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Methyl Bromide Fumigation Abatement notice

Media statement:

Greater Wellington Regional Councillor, Paul Bruce, will be calling for an abatement notice to be served on Centre Port and fumigation company Genera at the Tuesday meeting of the Regulatory Committee of the Regional Council. Mr Bruce said the use of the highly toxic Methyl Bromide for fumigation of logs at Centre Port by Genera must cease immediately until such time as full recapture technology for containment and recovery is utilised.

“Fumigation of logs with methyl bromide gas was a very dangerous practice which threatened workers and the general public, as well as a being a significant ozone depleting substance covered by the Montreal Protocol. And on Tuesday 11th March, fumigation took place during a period of gale northerlies with damaged tarpaulins being lifted prematurely. With wind gusts of up to 44 knots recorded on Aotea Quay and up to 52 knots at Kelburn, it was inevitable that some of the gas would have swirled its way to the boundary.”

Regional Council staff were now monitoring discharges, but Mr Bruce, said that even under light wind conditions, it would be extremely difficult to monitor releases without air modeling, and failure to detect would not indicate compliance. On 26 February, fumigation took place 140 metres north of the Cruise ship Statendam.
The site was also close to Waterloo Quay, the Stadium, ferry terminals, schools, university and Parliament.

The fumigation does not comply with the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Air Plan, which states that fumigation is a Permitted Activity as long as it does not cross the boundary. This calls for an immediate abatement notice, however Regional Council staff are hesitating around the risk and are relying on monitoring results.

No recapture technology is used in spite of a filter system now being commercially available for both shipping containers and under tarpaulin methyl bromide fumigation (http://www.nordiko.com.au/Under-Tarp-Sc.227.0.html).

Methyl Bromide is an odourless, colourless super toxic synthetic pesticide. Human exposure to methyl bromide has potentially serious acute impacts on the central nervious system and internal organs that can be fatal, with a range of neurological effects associated with chronic exposure.


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