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Landfill numbers drop by two thirds

Landfill numbers drop by two thirds

New Zealand landfills have reduced by two thirds since 1995, from over 300 in 1995 to 116 in 2002, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

The 2002 Landfill Review and Audit Report also points out that the standard of our landfills has improved dramatically.

"This is a very credible development," Marian Hobbs said. "Many of the local dumps were no more than holes in the ground and have now been replaced by transfer stations, often with provision for recycling.

"The rubbish we do produce is going to landfills of a higher standard than in the past meaning that the impacts on the environment are reduced significantly. We are also working with industry on treating hazardous wastes before they go to landfill. Draft guidelines will be released for comment by the end of next month.

"We have made excellent progress towards achieving our goal of closing or upgrading substandard landfills by 2010. The report predicts that there will be only 43 landfills operating by 2010.

"This news also complements the 'Reduce Your Rubbish' campaign. The key message from the Ministry for the Environment and Regional Councils is that your rubbish doesn't go away but that there are some simple things we can all do to make a difference such as recycling, composting or shopping environmentally.

"The only way we can operate with fewer landfills is by putting less into them."

It is also clear that landfills are being better sited and designed, management practices improved and ultimately replaced by modern facilities. Better practice includes the use of landfill liners and improved stormwater and landfill gas management.

"Such a reduction in the number of landfills reflects the commitment of local government and the waste sector," Marian Hobbs said. "The release of the New Zealand Waste Strategy last year with uptake by many local authorities has also helped to keep the momentum going."

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