Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


ECan ignores calls from health and environment NGOs

ECan ignores calls from health and environment NGOs to address toxic nitrate levels

Environment Canterbury is taking dangerous risks with human and environment health by failing to take action on the toxic levels of nitrates in fresh water.

The Chief Executive of Environment Canterbury has rejected calls from environment and health NGOs to apply a precautionary approach to managing dangerous nitrate levels in Canterbury’s freshwater. Read the full letter to ECan and the response here.

Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague, and Public Health Association Chief Executive Dr Prudence Stone, wrote a letter to Environment Canterbury asking for urgent action to reduce the levels of nitrates going into groundwater and waterways.

But the response from ECan’s Bill Bayfield rejects the evidence of dangers to human health, claiming more research is needed, and passes the buck to Ministry of Health to update drinking water standards.

“I’m very disappointed by the response from Bill Bayfield and ECan,” says Forest & Bird freshwater advocate Annabeth Cohen.

“They’re refusing to show leadership on meaningfully reducing nitrates in fresh water, which we know pose a risk to human health at lower levels than currently exist in much of Canterbury’s groundwater.”

Nitrates can enter groundwater, lakes, and rivers thorough the excessive application of fertilisers and through ammonia in animal waste. Irrigation systems can add to the problem.

In their letter, Mr Hague and Dr Stone call on Environment Canterbury to make urgent plans to stop allowing dairy farming intensification, cut cow numbers, and reduce fertiliser use in catchments with high nitrate levels.

“There is now a mountain of evidence that excess nitrates put us at greater risk of illnesses such as colon cancer, rectal cancer, thyroid disease, blue baby syndrome, and neural tube defects in utero,” Ms Cohen says.

“By refusing to apply a precautionary approach, ECan is taking a risk with people’s health. The fresh water environment in Canterbury is past the point of crisis and we are potentially heading for a disaster in human health. ECan is wasting time and dodging responsibility rather than taking meaningful and urgent action.”

High levels of nitrates cause algal blooms that make water unsafe for swimming and are harmful to our already stressed native fish populations, Ms Cohen says.

The Government’s draft regulations for fresh water are due out for consultation in August. Forest & Bird is asking the Government to stop land use intensification and to set tighter limits for water quality, especially nitrates.

“The current regulations draw the line at toxicity, but this isn’t good enough,” Ms Cohen says.

“We need our national standards to protect people’s health and the health of our environment.”

Read the full letter to ECan and the response here.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

General Election Announced: Set For September 19

The 2020 General Election will be held on Saturday 19 September, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “I will be asking New Zealanders to continue to support my leadership and the current direction of the Government, which is grounded in stability, a strong economy and progress on the long term challenges facing New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said. “We are running an established and effective MMP Government, and overseeing a strong economy with low unemployment and growth rates the envy of other countries like Australia and the UK while making critical investments in health, education and reducing child poverty. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus – its official World Health Organisation designation is 2019-nCoV – is believed to have originated as a seafood-to-human transfer, with ground zero for the transfer believed to have been a fish market in Wuhan, China. More>>


WINZ Quarterly Report: More People Getting Into Work

The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said. More>>


Changing lives: Boost In Whānau Ora Funding

Whānau throughout New Zealand are set to benefit from an extra three million dollars that will go directly to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, the Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today. More>>


PGF Kaikōura $10.88M: Boost In Tourism & Business

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. More>>


Whitebaiting: Govt Plans To Protect Announced

With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. More>>


Education: Resource For Schools On Climate Change

New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change... More>>






InfoPages News Channels