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Dioxins and toxic sites map

12 October 2000 Media Statement

Dioxins and toxic sites map

The government is acting to minimise dioxin levels in the environment, contrary to assertions by the Green party, the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs said today.

"It's ironic that Greenpeace has based its toxic sites map on data compiled by my Ministry for the Environment," Marian Hobbs said. "The map shows mainly industrial sources of dioxins such as waste incinerators, as well as a few contaminated sites. This information was made freely available in February when we published an inventory of sources of dioxins in New Zealand.

"The Ministry for the Environment is working on a management plan, including national environmental standards under the Resource Management Act, to control emissions of dioxins. It has recently completed an extensive programme of research into dioxin contamination in the New Zealand environment and sources of dioxins in New Zealand."

The study to compile the inventory looked at dioxin emissions from industry, domestic activity, and natural events such as forest and scrub fires. The Ministry also worked with key industries and other agencies to get good information on emissions. The study confirmed the findings of earlier research, which showed comparatively low levels of dioxins in our environment compared with Europe and North America.

"There are other sources of land contamination, not just dioxins," Marian Hobbs said. "A study published by the Ministry in 1992 estimated that contaminants on around 1,500 sites, including landfills, service stations, timber treatments plans, and chemical plants, could be a high risk to our environment or people’s health.

"Regional councils have been active in recording information about contaminated sites in their regions. The Ministry is working closely with local government in developing a comprehensive management system. The Ministry has also developed guidelines for remediating contaminated sites and funded trials of treatment technology to achieve this," the Minister said.


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