British govt targets "pathetic" recycling record
LONDON - The British government set a range of recycling targets on Thursday aimed at bringing Britain in line with its more environmentally friendly neighbours.
Environment Minister Michael Meacher said he would introduce statutory requirements for local authorities to double the amount of waste they recycle in the next three years, and turn around Britains "pathetic" recycling record.
Meacher said local councils must introduce or increase doorstep collection of household rubbish to hit a 30 percent recycling target by 2010.
Britain creates about three percent more waste each year, roughly in line with economic growth, and lags well behind most other European countries in the amount it recycles, Meacher told BBC radio.
Government figures for 1998 showed people in England and Wales recycled just eight percent of their household waste compared to 52 percent in Switzerland and 45 percent in the Netherlands. Scotland fared even worse at 5.8 percent.
Britain was also towards the bottom of the league tables in recycling glass, steel products and aluminium cans.
Meacher said the new initiative would encourage a move away from land-fill waste disposal and would include provision for a "small increase" in council incinerators.
Meacher was quick to shrug off public worries about the poisonous dioxins released when rubbish is incinerated.
"The health risks are enormously exaggerated," he said.
"The are far more dioxins created from burning wood or bonfires."
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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