Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/519/3740

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2008

Incinerators: Our health at risk!

Seven boroughs are proposing a new plan for rubbish disposal in north London. Different sites are being looked at to build new waste facilities. Most of them are along the Lea Valley, half in the borough of Waltham Forest. As well as recycling facilities, the sites are likely to include an incinerator.

Paula Mitchell

There is already one incinerator in north London, in Edmonton. In 2002, after a campaign by Greenpeace, the government turned down a plan to massively extend it. So why is it safe to have an extra incinerator now?

The government also recently gave the green light to a new super-incinerator in Belvedere, south-east London, to be the biggest in Europe. A year ago there were 12 incinerators in the country. Now there are 19 and an additional 22 planning applications are in process. Because of the pressure on landfill and the need to reduce carbon emissions, the government is championing incinerators. They call it "energy from waste", because burning rubbish can be used to generate electricity.

What we do with rubbish is a serious problem. But we should unequivocally reject incinerators. The rush to incinerate is a dangerous, short-cut solution, which puts profit before health and reduces the chance of developing real alternatives.

Incinerators have been shown to pollute over a 15-mile area. Hundreds of baby deaths a year are linked to pollution emitted by them and studies have shown higher rates of adult and childhood cancer and birth defects. They have safety measures in place to avoid accidents, but these ignore the effect of airborne chemicals, which can cause illnesses over a long period of time. Additionally, incinerators reduce waste to ash, which is toxic and easily windborne.

They emit:

The majority of incinerators are sited in poor areas. The Belvedere incinerator will see working-class areas polluted by burning rubbish from rich areas such as Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea.

They do not solve the problem of landfill. The ash produced is still 30-50% of the original waste volume and is buried in landfill sites. They release lots of carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. They also discourage recycling and waste reduction because they require a minimum amount of rubbish to operate.

Invest in alternatives

The main aim should be to re-use and recycle. In north London only 23% of waste is currently recycled. Investment is needed into environmentally-friendly systems that can deal with remaining waste without incineration. 94% of public waste could be dealt with by methods other than incineration, such as anaerobic digestion. The remaining 6% is safer sent to controlled landfill than being burnt.

Instead of being fully funded public services under democratic control, waste plants are run by private companies that exist for only one reason: profit. They have no interest in long-term research and investment into safe and environmentally acceptable alternatives, just short-term solutions that provide a quick profit.

How can we trust them to put proper safety measures in place? Look at the appalling safety record of the privatised railways. London Waste Ltd, the company that owns the Edmonton incinerator, was fined in 1998 for "burning clinical waste of types not permitted". Altogether they were guilty of 19 separate charges.

And we will probably have to pay through the nose to be poisoned. Costs of other projects have rocketed. In Newhaven, Sussex, the costs of one incinerator site have doubled to 145.7 million just to prepare the site. The tax-payer is underwriting the costs, while the private company, Veolia, will reap the profits.

Councils have the legal right to take waste disposal back in-house; we must campaign for this.

A huge amount of waste is completely unnecessary. The profit system produces masses of unneeded packaging and advertising. Competition between companies leads to enormous waste in duplicated processes.

Many goods are deliberately made with built-in obsolescence. The technology exists that would allow them to last for many years, but they are deliberately designed to wear out in a short time so that we are forced to buy them again.

So as well as fighting for a safe method of waste disposal, we also need a socialist society which can massively reduce waste.

In north London we are being 'consulted'. In just six weeks, with one 'workshop' in each borough, we are allegedly being consulted about something which could threaten the health and even the lives of babies, children and adults in our boroughs.

Socialist Party members in Walthamstow, Leyton, Hackney and Camden are attending these consultations. But the vast majority of residents know nothing about the plans. This process will be like so many others, where a sham consultation is used as a cover for decisions made behind closed doors.

SARP

Campaigning can work. In May 1998, in Killamarsh in Yorkshire, two toxic clouds escaped from SARP UK industrial plant and spread over the village.

Local residents and Socialist Party members set up a campaign: Residents Against SARP Pollution (RASP). As well as launching an inquiry, RASP organised marches, a roof-top protest, and even a trip to France to protest at the parent company headquarters. They were victorious, managing to shut down almost the entire SARP plant.

In north London, we have started campaigning and have met other people who want to fight with us. The north London plans will take two years to be implemented. But it is important that we campaign now, right at the start, for a bottom line of no new incinerators.

We stand for:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 February 2008:

MPs' insult to low-paid workers

Their hands in our till

Protests as multinational grabs health centre

Rich avoid paying 25 billion tax bill

Why they call them 'fat cats'


War and terrorism

Bush and Brown's Afghan strategy lies in tatters


Socialist Party women

Fight attacks on abortion rights


Socialist Party news and analysis

Victory! Bristol campaign saves library

Victory! Hull youth workers save jobs

Inspiring victory for Polish workers

Fighting the BNP in Barnsley

Shell output is down, but profits hit new record


Young workers and Students

Young workers get organised

Protest against university fees

Refreshing student work in Bangor

International Socialist Resistance website

Socialist Students website


Environment and socialism

Incinerators: Our health at risk!

Stop the Anglesey nuclear time-bomb


Socialist Party debate

How can an alternative to the main political parties be developed?


International socialist news and analysis

Kenya: Workers' movement must provide an alternative

France: LCR votes to launch a new party


Workplace news

Birmingham: Thousands on strike against pay cuts

Workplace news in brief


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 February 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Waste:

triangleAttacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

triangleVeolia waste workers vote for action in Cheshire

triangleNo to Tory plans for radioactive waste under national parks

trianglePlastic waste - capitalism's Frankenstein monster

triangleSummer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

Incinerator:

triangleSupport growing against incinerator in Washington

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleAngry march against Bradford council-approved incinerator

triangleStop the Cardiff incinerator

Landfill:

triangleFive years on - and still no justice for Zane

triangleMay's "war on plastic" still puts profits before the planet

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/2/20

Rhondda Cynon Taff

Keep the pressure on to save Royal Glam A&E

19/2/20

Climate change

'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'

19/2/20

Newham

Stop Newham Labour's cuts and gentrification

19/2/20

Unite

London bus rep dismissal update

19/2/20

Birmingham

Support Clive Walder

19/2/20

East London

East London anti-academy strikes escalate

19/2/20

NEU

Sixth-form strikers stand firm for increased funding

19/2/20

Unite

Unite union executive council elections

19/2/20

CWU

CWU: Build for a massive Yes vote in Royal Mail

19/2/20

Hackney

Hackney parking wardens strike for 15 an hour

19/2/20

The Socialist

The Socialist: Ideas to change society

19/2/20

Peterborough

Peterborough food workers picket and protest

19/2/20

The Socialist

Socialist sellers

19/2/20

Environment

Socialist Students says democratise the climate strike movement

12/2/20

Climate change

Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999