In a press release from Joan Marc Simon, GAIA Coordinator in Europe, we learn that the European Parliament (EP) has voted to decrease monitoring of pollutants from incineration.
GAIA stands for The Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance: Mobilizing grassroots action against the spread of incinerators and other polluting, end-of-pipe waste technologies. GAIA also stands for The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives: Building the movement for environmental justice, local green economies, and creative zero waste solutions.
GAIA regrets the lack of ambition of the European Parliament in regulating the increasing emissions from incineration and co-incineration
Only 10 days after the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) published a study warning the European Commission about the dioxins and PCBs found in food and animal feed and advising the authorities to increase measurements (http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/doc/1385.pdf) the ENVI Committee decides not to increase measurements on incinerators but to decrease them.
The current technology allows for continuous monitoring of dangerous pollutants such as dioxins, heavy metals and PCBs, it is a pity that the EP missed this opportunity to increase the protection of the EU citizens
said Joan-Marc Simon, GAIA coordinator in Europe.
The European Association of Doctors for the Environment agrees with the EFSA that the measurements on incineration and co-incineration should be increased (below).
The health and the food authorities were asking for nothing else than updating the monitoring to what is technically possible, which is still far from what is necessary to protect the EU citizens. It seems like only the industry got what they wanted
We have been seeing how the number of incinerators in Europe has been steadily increasing thanks to the push given by the Waste Framework Directive approved by the European Parliament and the financing provided by the European Investment Bank (http://www.bankwatch.org/billions/ta). It is regrettable that the European Parliament now voted in favour of reducing the control on emissions when Europe will be burning the biggest amount of waste in its history.
The International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE) is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit environmental NGO of medical doctors. Created in 1990, it has now national and regional member organization in over 35 countries representing 30.000 doctors worldwide.
Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is an international coalition of hospitals and health care systems, medical professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labor unions, environmental and environmental health organizations and religious groups.
Letter from the health and healthcare sector to keep monitoring of incineration emissions in the new IPPC directive
In view of the coming vote of the IPPC, the association of Doctors for the Environment and Health Care Without Harm Europe would like to ask the members of the Environment and Health Committee of the European Parliament to take into account health considerations when voting in the IPPC and therefore
keep the monitoring of the emissions from incinerators and co-incinerators as they stand in the current Waste Incineration Directive –vote for amendments 348 to 353.
We remind the members of the European Parliament that there are no safe limits of exposure to dioxins, furans, or heavy metals; the current Waste Incineration Directive establishes monitoring controls based on a political compromise and not on what is necessary to protect the health of the Europeans.
Several studies continue to reveal the threat that incinerators pose to human health in Europe and around the world (Etude d’incidence des cancers à proximité des usines d’incinération d’ordures ménagères : French
epidemiological study – Pascal Fabre, Côme Daniau, Sarah Goria, Perrine de Crouy-Chanel, Pascal Empereur-Bissonnet) and its correlation with the increase of cancer rates. An example of how the current legislation is not in pace with technology is the fact that ultra-fine particles, whose danger is well documented (http://inchesnetwork.net/Fetal%20and%20embryological%20origin%20of%20diseases_Gatti.pdf), are not monitored anywhere in Europe.
The current monitoring requirements only monitor 0.2% of the operational hours of (co)incinerators, omitting start-up and shut-down periods, which can not provide a reliable sample of the pollutants emitted by an incinerator. It is indeed a risk to reduce the monitoring even more.
Moreover it is a paradox that when the current abatement technologies (AMESA and REMPI, RIMMPA-TOFMS) give the possibility to get a continuous measurement of dioxins, furans and heavy metals, the EU instead of upgrading the legislation suggests we should reduce and even eliminate the measurements.
To conclude, we have been seeing how the number of incinerators in Europe has been steadily increasing thanks to the push given by the Waste Framework Directive approved by the European Parliament and the financing provided by the European Investment Bank (http://www.bankwatch.org/billions/). We consider irresponsible that the European Parliament might now vote in favour of reducing the control on emissions when Europe will be burning the biggest amount of waste in its history.
For these reasons we ask the European Parliament to keep the monitoring requirements for (co)incinerators as they are and consider requesting continuous monitoring of dioxins, furans and heavy metals in the future as the only way to preserve children’s health and the health of future European generations.