Regional NSW Set for Toxic Incinerators to Burn Sydney’s Waste
News that no toxic Waste to Energy incinerators will be built in Sydney is welcome, but should not mean the regions are lumped with the burden of burning waste, says Cate Faehrmann Greens MP and spokesperson for Waste and Pollution after the release of the NSW Government’s Energy from Waste Policy Statement today.
The policy will limit the construction of Waste to Energy facilities to the:
- West Lithgow Precinct
- Parkes Special Activation Precinct
- Richmond Valley Regional Jobs Precinct, or
- Southern Goulburn Mulwaree Precinct
Waste incinerators have been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the largest producers of dioxins, which can cause “reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and even cancer.”
“This will bring some relief to community groups in Sydney who have been campaigning against the construction of these toxic incinerators in their communities for years. Unfortunately though, the Government is now expecting a handful of regional communities to bear the brunt of the growing waste problem in NSW,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“There is also no detail on what happens to the two Sydney incinerators that are currently in the planning system. I call on the Environment Minister Matt Kean to cancel these projects and commit that there won’t be other precincts added to the approved list at a later date.
“If the Government has recognised that burning waste is unacceptable in Sydney backyards, why has it decided it’s perfectly fine in regional ones?
“Waste to energy incinerators are dangerous wherever they are built. They are one of the largest producers of dioxins, while producing toxic ash which still needs to be disposed of somewhere.
“These types of incinerators also go against the government’s stated goals for a circular economy because waste that would otherwise be composted, recycled or processed is burned. These incinerators need to operate for 25 to 30 years to be financially viable which means that if the waste-to-energy industry gets a foothold in NSW it will resist policies to reduce waste.
“We need to be moving towards a zero-waste economy and investing more heavily in truly sustainable waste innovation instead of creating incinerators that put our health at risk.”
“The Government should introduce a ban on waste to energy across NSW so that no community is exposed to toxic pollution. This is exactly what the bill I introduced in 2020 would have achieved which both the Government and Opposition voted against,” said Ms Faehrmann.