WELLINGTON, OCTOBER 12. Greenpeace has today cordoned off part of Parliament Buildings to highlight the fact that unless the New Zealand government changes its current position it could become the worst toxic hotspot in the country.
Toxic-barrel wearing activists are inviting members of parliament to urge the government to agree to eliminate dioxins at an international toxics meeting in December. MPs will also be invited to find out where the dioxin pollution is within their own electorate, highlighted on an interactive Toxics Map, that will be live at Parliament and can also be seen at:
“Dioxins are one of the deadliest chemicals known. They can cause cancer, infertility and birth defects. Despite this dioxins are being pumped into our environment every day. The only way to protect people and the environment is to eliminate these dangerous chemicals,” says Sue Connor, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner.
“Only a handful of nations involved in developing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) sponsored toxics treaty have so far refused to aim to eliminate dioxins. New Zealand is one of the recalcitrant few,” says Connor.
“Until the government commits to eliminate dioxins, New Zealand will continue to have a legacy of toxic contamination and the possibility for new sources to be developed. Unless the New Zealand position changes the government itself becomes the greatest obstacle to a toxics free future,” she says.
Today’s activity follows on from the Eliminate Dioxin Drive, which launched in Christchurch a week ago (October 4). This nine-centre tour aims to highlight dioxin polluting sites around the country to show New Zealanders how widespread the problem is. Wellington starts the Eliminate Dioxin Drive’s North Island tour, which will also call at Gisborne, Napier, Rotorua and Auckland.
To interview Sue Connor please call her on-site on 025 269 5001 or via Auckland-based media co- ordinator, Margaret Taylor, phone 09 630 6317.