A PROPOSED waste to energy plant at Mount Piper, near Lithgow, should not be allowed to proceed.
More than 200,000 tonnes per year of NSW waste would be burnt in a new furnace at the existing Mount Piper Station, supplying a new boiler, producing electricity for the grid.
All waste produced (air, ground and water) would be disposed of locally.
OTHER RECENT ECO NEWS COLUMNS:
Waste incinerators are a polluting, expensive and unsustainable technology.
There are many reasons why we must ensure that these proposals do not take place:
1. Undermines recycling efforts. They legitimise the production of waste, and support the packaging industries. The world must reduce the production of waste and resource consumption, and support "The Circular Economy", where reuse and recycling are the priorities.
2. They are very expensive to build and operate, requiring public subsidies to be viable. Hence the attempts to "greenwash", portraying them as green and environmentally friendly. In no way is the energy produced "renewable". The large cost also makes it essential to lock in long term (20 to 30 years) contracts with councils, removing any incentive for councils to recycle/reduce waste.
3. Waste burning facilities produce far more carbon dioxide per unit of energy generated than coal, gas, or oil.
4. Waste burning facilities release toxic air pollutants, affecting the environment and human health. Emissions include highly toxic and carcinogenic pollutants such as dioxins and furans along with nanoparticles and toxic heavy metals. All these air pollutants can be carried on the wind. The potential public health risks over a large area in the Central West are very real.
5. Large amounts of highly toxic ash are produced: one tonne of ash for every four tonnes burned. That is at least 50,000 tonnes per year for 30 years! The ash must be disposed of to landfill, with enormous risks of pollution in streams and groundwater. This is a major risk in the Mount Piper area, underlaid with coal mines, on sandstone, in the catchment of Sydney's water supply.
6. Transport. The proposal is for up to 100 50-tonne B-double truck movements a day over the Great Western Highway, with peaks in early morning and late afternoon - the busiest times.
7. Costs jobs. Modern waste incinerators are expensive, computer controlled, largely automated technology requiring only a small workforce. Waste management systems based on recycling and reuse have a high employment potential, with many flow-on effects for communities and the economy.
This proposed incinerator will have many detrimental effects on all of the Central West, including Bathurst, and must be opposed.