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Watch what you burn, farmers warned

Watch what you burn, farmers warned

A toxic fire near Whakatane has highlighted the need for farmers to watch what they burn.

Edgecumbe’s volunteer fire service was called to Te Teko yesterday (Thursday 16 November) to extinguish a large fire creating a billowing plume of poisonous black smoke. It contained plastic used for covering a horticultural crop.

Environment Bay of Plenty wants to remind farmers to take care of how they dispose of plastic products like silage wraps and fertiliser bags. These should go to the local landfill or be buried if there is no alternative, says Andy Bruere, the council’s manager of consents and compliance.

Mr Bruere says regional council staff do not often have to deal with such serious incidents of this type. “However, it’s a good opportunity for us to remind farmers, and householders too, that it is dangerous to burn plastic – for their own health and the health of the environment.”

Burnt plastic produces dioxins which are toxic, do not break down easily in the environment, and build up in the food chain. It is also unsafe to breathe in the smoke.

ends

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