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Auckland Waste Incinerator – Dioxin Outlaw

Auckland Waste Incinerator – Dioxin Outlaw

Wednesday 21 November

21 November 2001, Auckland: Greenpeace has targeted Waste Resources’ incinerator at Auckland airport calling the company a dioxin outlaw and demanding that the incinerator be closed down. Today Greenpeace padlocked signs outside the plant to highlight the danger the incinerator poses to people’s health.

“Early this year the government released a report stating that more than one New Zealander in 1000 (perhaps up to 7 in every 1000 was stated in the draft report) could die of cancer because of dioxin poisoning. This could mean more than 3,800 New Zealanders could die from cancer just from dioxins,” said Sue Connor, Greenpeace campaigner.

Sue Connor said that for the past 18 months Waste Resources incinerator has been putting more dioxin into the atmosphere than the Auckland Regional Council permits.

Dioxins are some of the deadliest chemicals ever produced by humans. They cause birth defects, cancer, diabetes, endometriosis, reduced sperm counts, and reduced penis size in infants. They interfere with the immune and hormone systems which causes a whole raft of serious long term health effects.

“This incinerator must go”, said Connor. “Even if it wasn’t breaching limits there is no need to poison New Zealand with dioxins from this incinerator. There are commercially available alternatives, which are already used in New Zealand to treat quarantine and medical waste”.

Greenpeace is also critical of the Government’s stand on dioxins, saying that its so-called “dioxin action plan” will fail to protect our health and environment from dioxin poisoning.

“Dioxins are deadly. There is no safe limit. Yet the Government’s dioxin action plan will let incinerators like this continue to emit dioxins into the atmosphere. Worse, the Government has paid no attention to the highly contaminated ash from incinerators which is dumped into landfills. From these landfills dioxins could leach into water supplies, contaminating soils and food supplies as well,” Sue Connor said.

This glaring omission has happened despite the fact that following Greenpeace pressure the Government signed onto the Stockholm Convention in May this year, promising to ultimately eliminate all dioxins because of their severe health risk. “The Government’s dioxin action plan must set an overarching policy goal to eliminate and outlaw dioxins,” said Connor.

“The Government’s dioxin action plan will do nothing of the sort. In fact this will promote incineration as long as the limits are met. The Government’s dioxin action plan doesn’t even look at dioxin contamination to land or to water. It does not address the disastrous health effects on people caused by dioxins.”

“This is a blinkered and inadequate approach, it’s more like an inaction plan,” Connor said.

For more information and to arrange an interview contact Suzette Jackson on 021 165 9217 or Sue Connor on 025 272 4044. Photos available from www.fotopress.co.nz

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