The Erskine Park community hall was packed on April 13 as hundreds of local residents expressed their opposition to The Next Generation’s controversial plan to build a waste-to-energy incinerator.
The incinerator would be located only 800 metres from homes and 1.8 kilometres from three local schools. Prospect Reservoir forms part of Sydney's drinking water and is only 5 kilometres from the proposed site: this would put the drinking water of 4.5 million people under threat of contamination from toxic particulates.
Jane Bremmer from the National Toxic Network, Kerri Bradbury and Melinda Wilson from No Incinerator for Western Sydney and Jeremy Buckingham from the NSW Greens were among the speakers.
Ian Malouf, owner of The Next Generations, also attended with his two lawyers and his PR representative but did not speak.
Bradbury said: "Incinerators are the past. The future is recycling and going towards zero waste.”
People in Western Sydney are worried about the health effects associated with living in close proximity to a waste incinerator.
Bremmer said: "Japan has hundreds of Incinerators. But they are also contributing 40% of the global Dioxin emissions and they have the highest levels of Dioxin in the bodies of their citizens. As the host community, you are going to be living in the incinerator sacrifice zone."
A recent study by The Small Area Health Statistics Unit has revealed an
d area in Dundee, Scotland, near a waste incinerator has one of Europe's largest cancer clusters. There were 81 more cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than average and evidence of clustering for myeloid leukemia, around the incinerator.
Another study in Besancon, France, also discovered a cancer cluster around a waste incinerator. They had 61 cases more than average of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The meeting passed a resolution to: "Oppose the construction of a waste-to energy incinerator at Eastern Creek and support the Incinerator Facilities — Residential Exclusion Zones Bill introduced by Jeremy Buckingham of the NSW Greens”. The legislation would prohibit locating large polluting waste-to-energy incinerators within 15 kilometres of housing.
Local resident Cameron echoed the feelings of the whole community when he gave Liberal Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies a roasting over not putting in a submission against the incinerator.
"You can end this very simply,” he said. “Don't vote on caucus lines. Vote with the people who put you there, or watch the swing. You will lose and the whole government will get kicked out.”
Green Left Weekly has contacted Malouf for comment. At time of writing he had not responded.
[No Incinerator for Western Sydney will be hosting a vigil every Thursday at 11 am outside Tanya Davies’ electorate office Shop 43, St Clair Shopping Centre, 155 Bennett Road, St Clair, from May 4. The community will send a clear message "We won't go away, until the incinerator does".]