Letters to the Editor

Vancouver should burn trash close to home, not in Nanaimo

To the Editor,

As I was looking at real estate in the Nanaimo region the topic of the Duke Point incinerator came up. I have read of emissions, incinerator bottom ash, landfill versus incineration, and reduction in real estate value around incinerators. I have looked at the technologies and sites of the different proposals and three things occur to me.

First, since incineration creates about 15-20 per cent by weight, incinerating 370,000 tonnes per year would create 55,500 to 74,000 tonnes of ash, the majority of which will need to go to a landfill somewhere while the remainder will be dispersed by the stacks on the prevailing winds. As I understand it, there would be 74,000 tonnes fewer if Metro Vancouver was able to match Nanaimo’s 70 per cent recycling achievement.

Second, if an incinerator successfully minimized emissions to make it safe for the area’s population then that also makes it practical to reduce transportation’s economic and environmental costs by being closer to the source.

Third, there are more efficient methods of generating electricity. Waste-to-energy technologies generate significant heat which is wasted unless it is applied to some purpose.

My conclusion is recycle more, burn the least possible and burn the wastes closest to the source as possible while maximizing the usefulness of the heat and electricity generated. I hope Nanaimo chooses not to be Vancouver’s waste disposal site for the coming decades because I believe there are better options for the region.

Eric von Stackelberg
Stony Plain, Alta.

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