Environmentalists' Opposition to Waste-to-Energy
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What accounts to some environmentalists’ opposition to waste-to-energy as a component of the overall waste management system?
Author, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America
It used to be the case that that was in fact what was happening. If you burn plastic in a backyard barrel, you increase PCBs and other pollutants that are carcinogens. We have advanced technology now that is implemented through the Clean Air Act all over the U.S. waste-to-energy facilities that has reduced those emissions of toxic chemicals by – in the – high 90 percentile range and in some cases well over 99.9 percent. We are doing a very good job, far better than – for instance – coal fired power plants. When you hear the talk about clean coal, its about trying to catch up to what waste-to-energy plants have done a long time ago.
There is a lot of health evidence from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, as well as the British Health Protection Agency that have found that there is really no evidence to show that there is any increase in any kind of measurable health effects between those who live close to a waste-to-energy plant and those who do not. So, the concern is really a left-over and a justifiable left-over, but a left-over from 1970’s and early 1980’s era of thinking.
We just need to educate people to get them to realize that this is no longer the case.
Report: Recycling and Waste-to-Energy: Are They Compatible? – Eileen Berenyi (Link to PDF)
White Book: Waste-to-Energy in Austria, Figures, Data and Facts – Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (Link to PDF)