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Greenpeace Closes Down Auckland Incinerator

New Zealand

Greenpeace Closes Down Auckland Incinerator

June 17 Auckland: Greenpeace New Zealand initiated a global day of action against incineration by shutting down Waste Resources Limited’s Auckland waste incinerator in the early hours of this morning.

Three activists scaled the chimney and placed a cap on the stack to prevent the incinerator firing up, before locking themselves to the chimney.

“This incinerator is poisoning people and the environment with dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known. Dioxin causes cancer, birth defects, diabetes and infertility,”(1) said Sue Connor, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner.

“Waste incineration is unnecessary because there are alternative ways to treat waste. Steam sterilisation is used in Auckland and Wellington”.(2)

“The Waste Resources incinerator has also been breaching its resource consent for dioxin pollution for two years, yet they’ve been allowed to get away with it”.

“The New Zealand Government is proposing a regulation which gives the green light to incineration,” said Connor. “This is a real concern because of the inherit danger of dioxin.

“Building incinerators will further undermine our clean green image, which New Zealand’s agricultural sector relies on internationally”.

“Governments know incinerators release dioxins but, instead of instigating action plans to tackle the problem at source, they are still promoting incineration around the world as a solution to the waste crisis. Under the Stockholm Convention which New Zealand is a signatory to, they have an obligation to prioritise alternative approaches to waste management. To continue promoting incineration while agreeing to eliminate persistent organic pollutants, is sheer hypocrisy,” said Connor.

The international protests took place as world leaders convened in Geneva for the first time since agreeing persistent poisons must be eliminated under the Stockholm Convention. However, they are still promoting industries that release them into the environment. The Treaty identifies all waste incinerators as a primary source of PCBs, furans and cancer causing dioxin.

Greenpeace New Zealand joined 126 community groups and environmental organisations spanning 54 countries today (3), to call on governments and industry to stop burning waste and to start recycling it.

For more information: Sue Connor, campaigner on 021 272 4044, Brendan Lynch communications officer on 021 790 817.

ONGOING UPDATES ONLINE - http://www.greenpeace.org.nz

IMAGES / VIDEO / AUDIO Information on how to obtain images, video footage and audio clips is available at: http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/press

For more information on today's international actions, see: http://www.greenpeace.au http://www.no-burn.org

Notes to editors:

(1) The chemicals released from incinerators cause a variety of health problems; immune and reproductive system defects, spontaneous abortions, respiratory diseases, diabetes, hormone disruption and cancers. In May 2001, Greenpeace published ‘Incineration and Human Health’, a comprehensive review of all available scientific data on the impacts of incineration on human health and the effects of specific chemicals discharged from incinerators. see: http://www.greenpeace.org.au

(2) Buenos Aires in Argentina has banned medical waste incineration; Ireland has closed all medical waste incinerators in 1999; the Phillipines has banned waste incineration.

(3) Greenpeace is a member of GAIA - Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance or Global Alliance – formed when the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was adopted in May 2001. It consists of 265 public interest groups from 55 countries.

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