Burning up common sense

The health scare side of incineration misses the point from a waste point of view. It implies that if there were no health problems with incineration then everything would be fine.

Well, everything wouldn’t be fine. It would be just repeating the disasters of the past.

I wonder if those in charge have completely missed the point about waste. They seem to think the cure to our waste problems is just to make it disappear. The point they’re missing is that the production of waste is the fundamental problem.

Every time something is manufactured it involves mining, transport, pollution and waste. That makes some sense if it is done to produce a primary product, like a fridge, for example. All the packaging that comes with the fridge performs no useful social purpose at all and instead involves felling trees, energy use, more pollution and so on. It makes far more sense if the fridge arrives without the packaging.

If you make it easy for the manufacturer to produce waste, then the manufacturer will produce waste. Incineration makes waste easy to produce.

The policy to be pursued should be to return ‘waste’ back to where it came from. For example, it seems common sense to me that all Toyota cars should be returned to Toyota at the end of their lives. Then Toyota would design cars to enable them to be easily recycled or they would be out of business.

As far as I can see, householders are the only ones being asked to cough up. That won’t work.

Waste needs to be tackled at source. Despite the fine words and policies, incineration creates an industry out of producing waste. And it’s not a clean industry either.

In the long term, incinerators will have to be shut down. Why start them up?


Just keep on using

IRELAND has faced a mini energy crisis. For a while there it looked as if we might be facing blackouts.

That threat has receded, not least because of wind power coming on stream. But the whole emphasis has been on meeting energy demand instead of trying to limit energy use.

Ireland is in serious trouble on our Kyoto commitments when we agreed to keep our pollution increases to 13% above 1990 levels. We’re on course for 37% and the big fines that will bring.

Despite all the warnings about climate change, we still refuse to behave responsibly. The truth is that dirty energy is too cheap for the damage it is causing.

Here in Dublin we should be aiming to use far more electricity powered bikes, cars (especially for second cars) and buses. We get most of our power from Poolbeg, a gas powered station which is relatively benign.

Local authorities and CIE should not wait for the Government to act. We need local action too.


Fingal goes Green

Congratulations to Fingal County Council which has switched some of its buildings to alternative energy.

More power to ye!