Zero Waste

Our airshed is getting more polluted

Mayor Malcolm Brodie is an enigma. He has educated us all with his brilliant letter on the risks regarding increased tanker traffic and underground jet fuel line being piped through Richmond (Richmond Review, Feb. 22).

Yet, as chair of the Metro Vancouver Waste Committee, he is spearheading an even worse folly on our region—foisting a second waste incinerator that will vent 300,000 tonnes of airborne pollution that each of us will breathe in the next 25 years.

The people of our region have spoken forcible against this whenever our democratic expression has been allowed: a two-thirds majority vote by the Metro Vancouver board against an in-region incinerator;  5,000 attendees at the 22 public consultations, 80 per cent of whom were against any incineration; public announcements against incineration by Mayor Robertson, Mayor Watts, and Coun. Steves (three of our four largest municipalities), and implacable opposition by professors Steyn, McKendry, and Brauer at University of B.C.

After many months of silence, Mayor Brodie penned an unhelpful status report that was published in Metro Vancouver on Dec. 24, 2012 while most of us were preparing for the season’s festivities.

Unlike his recent letter on the YVR project, his status report was evasive and patronizing, and failed to mention: funding for this $450 million behemoth; upcoming project milestones; risks to our health, our airshed, and the migratory birds; the status of industrial proposals already received; and the small fact that the provincial environmental certificate for an in-region incinerator was about to be issued (how can an environmental certificate be issued without knowing the actual facility planned?).

Mayor Brodie, please inform us in detail of the status of the incinerator project and provide justification why you are pushing ahead for an in-region facility when the public has expressed repeatedly that we do not want to breathe in this pollution and has enthusiastically embraced recycling and composting.

Our airshed had the worst air quality readings for 25 years in the summer of 2012 (weeks on end of 3, 4, 5 and a spike at 6), and again from October through January when poor readings of 3 and above occurred.

Our airshed will be accumulating more and more pollution in the coming years as our region absorbs a huge increase in population, diesel marine traffic increases, YVR expands, Delta Port expands, and Gateway truck traffic increases.

Most of us are spending one to two hours a week managing our waste (reuse, recycle, compost) —are we wasting our time here? You have the authority to get incineration out of our region. It is not needed, it is too expensive, it is a health and environmental hazard, it is so “last century,” and the people have spoken.

John McCrossan


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