How many people on the North Coast are aware of the Richmond Valley Council’s (RVC) plans for a waste-to-energy incinerator located in or near Casino, without any public discussion? People are concerned about the very real risk of pollution to our air, land, and water as well as general community health for present and future generations.
These incinerators release dangerous pollutants such as dioxins, furans, mercury, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrochloric acid. For our farming communities and many businesses including the meat company, NORCO, and others who benefit from our clean and green image on the north coast it would be a disaster.
This is the most expensive and polluting way to manage waste or to generate energy. ‘waste to energy’ is a public relations term used to promote incineration, but waste is not magically transformed into energy; for every 100 tonnes of trash burned about 70 tonnes become air pollution; the other 30 tonnes become toxic ash that is typically dumped in landfills, making them more harmful than if all the waste went there unburnt! Plastic and metals are the major source of calorific value of the waste; the combination of plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gives rise to these highly toxic pollutants (from Desert Green Waste to Energy). There is a great deal of information online for people to look at.
There are other methods of disposing of waste and plastics; recycling and composting create 5–10 times as many jobs per tonne of waste than incinerators, reducing at source. There are many alternatives strategies in the move towards zero-waste and toward carbon neutrality.
There should be a full discussion with the community. Sydney has rejected a proposal for such an incinerator and it should be rejected on the north coast.