Blacktown residents say ‘no’ to proposed incinerator

Residents in Blacktown, in Sydney’s west, are organising to stop the construction of an incinerator at Eastern Creek. They are concerned it will cause health problems for those living nearby and potentially pollute the Hawkesbury-Nepean river basin.

Next Generation NSW wants to build an incinerator (dubbed an “energy from waste facility”) just 800 metres from homes that will burn waste to generate electricity. 

“If approved, it will be the largest of its type in the world,” opponent Melinda Wilson told Green Left Weekly. “This project will cause a cumulative air pollution threat to Blacktown and surrounding communities.”

Incinerator emissions include toxic metals which accumulate in the body and have been implicated in a range of emotional and behavioural problems in children.

Wilson said the build up of toxins in adults can lead to violence, dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease. She worries that the risk will come from eating home-grown food, drinking rain water and skin absorption of pollutants.

Next Generation NSW admits the new incinerator will increase the spread of ultrafine particulates, but says the current regulatory standards are fine.

Wilson disputes this, saying they do not cover ultra-fine or nanoparticles with a diameter of less than 0.1 microns, which are known to be emitted from all incinerators. These can cause respiratory and cardiac diseases. 

There are no state or national air quality standards, license conditions or other regulatory measures to protect communities from ultrafine particulates smaller than 2.5 microns. 

Wilson is also worried that Next Generation NSW CEO Ian Malouf does not have a good track record. “Companies associated with him have been caught illegally disposing of asbestos and refusing to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency clean-up directives relating to stockpiles of asbestos.” 

Australian Families against the Blacktown Incinerator is organising a protest on February 21 at 10am outside the Dial-a-Dump site on Honeycomb Drive, Eastern Creek. 

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