Incineration of waste, environment and health
Waste incineration is advocated by some people, institutions and pressure groups arguing their ability to produce energy from combustion (now called energy recovery); but, in fact, incinerating waste transforms gases, suspended particles, polluted water, ash and slag ;These resulting products are more toxic than the original waste, ie incineration not “removed” residues but the concentrates.
Products or waste resulting from incineration can be dispersed in the environment: air, soil and water and, through this medium, reach food and people. The ashes of the filters must be carried hazardous waste landfills. The current legislation allows the use of slag cement manufacture or in public works , although dioxins, furans and other Persistent Organic Pollutants are not controlled (COPs ). Incineration also generates polluted water from washing systems gas cleaning that must be treated.
In addition, these products resulting from the incineration containing suspended particles, many of them very small extent (ultrafine) to easily pass the lungs and from there to the blood . These particles are heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, dioxins and furans, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and other compounds transported by them. Most of these products are toxic, carcinogenic and teratogenic effects have also become part of the etiology of many diseases, some known and others emerging, even at low concentrations, due to bioaccumulation and persistence in the body.
Even when new incinerators and cement industries have begun to incinerate municipal waste, incorporate technological improvements in restraint systems of particles and pollutants, keep in mind that, regardless of the technology adopted (grills, fluidizing bed, Drum rotary, etc.) thousands of new pollutants, of which only 10-20% occur are known . Its formation depends, among others, the material is intended to combustion of the recorded temperature and completely casual mixture of substances in furnaces. From this point of view municipal waste may be the most dangerous in the extreme heterogeneity that characterizes them .
The devices controlling pollution of all incineration processes capture and concentrate pollutants, but not “eliminate” and so, although there were no incidents on these devices, contaminants are transferred to other media. Although the best use filtering and purification technology we know that there may be breaks and accidents, and more as you get older installation. There is enough evidence of serious discharges of pollutants into the atmosphere.
There is a contradiction between the development of plans for improving air quality in large cities and metropolitan areas, which aim to reduce air pollution, especially particulates and nitrogen oxide concentrations above the levels set by the European directives, and the proposal to increase the amount of municipal waste for incineration in incinerators and cement.
There is extensive experience with other models of municipal waste management that significantly reduce the risks to health and the environment, and are more sustainable : minimization at source (packaging, plastic bags, etc.), reuse, sorting at source, selective collection, recycling quality, composting and energy recovery by anaerobic digestion of organic matter. This model reduces the need for raw materials, saves energy, minimizes the effects on the climate, the negative effects on health and the environment, does not have the high investment costs and maintenance of incineration and, on the contrary, it creates many more Job positions. Indeed, it is not the “easy” way of the pipe end solutions (landfill and incineration), but is decisively promote this new culture to the entire population and overcome the difficulties.
We think that incineration should not coexist and be complementary with preventive models. If we invest large amounts in plants and incinerators will be necessary to amortize burn waste at maximum capacity. Multiply the volume of incinerated waste is entirely inconsistent with the strategy of further progress in the model to reduce, reuse and recycle. Download pdf file here pdf hush hush.