The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 4, 2006



 

Incineration experts

The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, March 04, 2006

Re: Snuff out incinerator idea, councillor says, Feb. 24.

The recent debate over garbage dumps versus incineration is long overdue, both in this city and in the province at large. The knee-jerk reactions against incineration point to an urgent need for education or this debate get bogged down in the usual shortsighted "we-can't-afford it" or NIMBY arguments that typically arise in this city to derail everything from the Congress Centre expansion to light-rail transit.

It was good that Ottawa city officials ("Staff, councillor off to Spain to talk trash," Feb. 23) went to Spain to see Rod Bryden's Plasco facility. Now other officials should head for Europe to take a tour of the other 400 waste-to-energy facilities that are to be found from Sweden to Spain and from Britain to Hungary. What they will find is that this is not new technology as some seem to think, nor is it polluting as others think.

On May 18, they will be able to attend the third congress of the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants in Vienna where they will learn about waste-to-energy in European policy as well as the experience of EU member states in developing alternatives to landfilling.

The CEWEP website (www.cewep.com) states that its membership includes "waste-to-energy plants from across Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland." These plants, operated both by municipalities and by private companies, generate both electricity and heat depending on local needs and infrastructure. Denmark alone, a tiny country of fewer than five and a half million people and geographically about the same size as Eastern Ontario, has 31 such facilities treating more than three million tons of garbage annually.

So yes, this discussion is long overdue because we can't keep expanding dumps, and we need to find alternatives to generate energy instead of burning scarce oil and natural gas.

Ron Whitmore,
Ottawa

 The Ottawa Citizen 2006


Councillors' failure

The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, March 04, 2006

Re: Incineration the solution for Carp Road landfill: Tory, Feb. 25.

Ottawa councillors have ignored the important issue of waste management in our city until the final year of their mandate although they knew that this landfill site would soon reach its capacity.

I raised this concern at a city corporate services committee meeting three years ago when I addressed the proposal to establish a buffer zone around hog farms. I pointed out that there was a greater need for one around the dump because the smell was worse and there were water-pollution problems in the area that did not exist on modern hog farms. I asked if councillors would take this into account when selecting a new site.

Yet council waited until Waste Management Canada put forward its proposal for expansion of the present site without looking into alternative solutions themselves. Councillors who are now proposing incineration as a solution should be prepared to name a suitable site and outline clearly what it will cost taxpayers and how soon it can be in operation.

Without a concrete proposal, these councillors are simply going through the motions of opposing a project that they know will not be popular with their constituents.

Ontario Conservative leader John Tory states that the application process for new or expanded landfills takes years and that getting approval for and constructing incineration-powered plants takes several years. We have less than four years left until we run out of space at that dump.

Either council members have been negligent in their duty and simply ignored this growing crisis or they have known what they were going to do for a long time and have been waiting until the last minute to inform the public. If there is only one proposal before council, how can citizens be sure that they are getting the best solution for their tax dollars and their environment?

Adele Muldoon,
Dunrobin

 The Ottawa Citizen 2006


 

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