A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200 SEPTEMBER 1995
Green Party parliamentarian, Barbel Hohn, has been appointed the Minister of Environment, Planning and Agriculture for North Rhine/Westfalia, the largest, most populated and most industrialized state in Germany, with a population of 18 million. Ms. Hohn was a guest presenter at the 2nd Citizens Conference on Dioxin, held in July 1994, in St. Louis, Missouri. In an interview with Waste Not Ms. Hohn stated that the ban discussed in the following underlined statement, released on July 1, 1995, by the Coalition Negotiations of the Alliance 90/Greens and the Social Democratic Party, is policy: The district authorities are reviewing their waste disposal plans on the basis of new data and insights. The waste avoidance concepts must continue to be developed. The district authorities having operated a restrictive assessment of need, the federal-state governments will recommend, that no new waste incinerators shall be planned or built. [Our emphasis, Ed.] Biological organic waste should generally be collected separately and should be composted or used in other biotechnological procedures. We will explore all possibilities of presorting and pretreating and recycling in order to minimize the amount of waste to be incinerated...
Dutch continue successful opposition to municipal solid waste incinerators. May 1995: In the face of continuing public protest, a proposal to build a large municipal solid waste incineration facility (600,000 tons per year) in the southern Netherlands towns of Maasbracht has been disapproved by the Dutch Government [at] the end of April. At the same time the government disallowed a 200,000 ton per year expansion of the controversial AVIRA incineration facility near Arnhem...Ironically, those cancelled proposals had been an earlier part of a government-backed program to double waste incineration capacity in the Netherlands within a ten year period. Back in 1990, Dutch national, provincial and local authorities formed a joint counsel to implement that program; but at the same time, environmental organizations mounted a nationwide campaign against incineration due to its severe but little known hazards to the environment and public health. Of equal importance, incineration was seen as counter-productive to the pursuit of more viable approaches to the world-wide waste management dilemma, such as waste prevention, separate collection and recycling, and alternative waste treatment methods like anaerobic digestion. While public concern for this situation has long been strong, government control actions have been until recently slow in coming.
Under public pressure, the Dutch government enacted in 1989 new, mandatory national air quality standards. Yet despite these standards all eight of the solid waste incinerators in the Netherlands still today exceed emission limits for dioxins and nitrogen oxides - six years after that enactment. Some incinerators also discharge other health endangering substances at illegal levels. A study in 1994 by the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection (a Dutch governmental institution) revealed that at least 80% of all toxic dioxins in the atmosphere are released by waste incineration. In most cases, incinerators continue to employ inexpensive, technically obsolete flue gas filters that simply fail to adequately perform, and the Governments emission-restricting measures continue to be clearly ignored by incineration facilities...Despite attempts by the government to reassure the public, opposition to waste incineration is widespread and increasing rapidly. Public action and demonstrations in 1992 forced cancellation of a new municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerator construction at Ypenburg near The Hague [see Waste Not # 211], and a year later The Hague MSW incinerator was also closed down as a result of similar public actions. Opposition to incineration is clearly seeing other expected benefits. Since 1993, the practice of separating organic kitchen and garden refuse, paper and glass at their sources plus the increase in recycling has resulted in an overall reduction of waste quantity throughout the Netherlands. These results, along with promising prospects for alternative waste processing methods like anaerobic digestion and composting, plus continuing pressure by the public were all major influences in the governments decision to cancel the incinerator construction at Maasbracht and the facility expansion at Arnhem last month. Dutch environmental organizations continue effective campaigning against waste incineration and are promoting a sustainable national waste policy based on prevention, separate collection and recycling, and alternative processing methods. Now that Dutch authorities have decided against allowing any new incinerator constructions in the near future, the Dutch NGOs public campaign is re-focussed on the shutdown of old MSW-incinerators still violating national standards, and where practical, to promote their replacement with anaerobic digestion facilities.
May 10, 1995: Today the AVIRA municipal solid waste incinerator at Arnhem, in the eastern Netherlands, was forced by the Dutch national Council of State to begin shutdown of one of its three furnaces due to dangerously excessive emission of toxic dioxins into the air. This action resulted from the Council's refusal this afternoon to grant a request by the