UPDATE - Incinerators pose little risk-UK Clean Air group
LONDON - Modern incinerator plants pose only negigible health risks, Britains National Society for Clean Air said yesterday.
The group told a London conference that research showed the impact of incinerators on health was dwarfed by many other sources of pollution.
"Quite often when there are proposals for incineration plants, health risks are at the top of peoples concerns," the groups Tim Brown told Reuters.
"What we are saying is that there may be legitimate concerns about the impacts, but health risks are likely to be minimal."
But environmental campaigners dismissed the research as superficial.
"It is a sad day when an environmental group produces such a badly researched and misleading report," said Mike Childs, campaigns director at Friends of the Earth.
"The UK has one of the worst recycling records in Europe. The best thing to do with this report is to throw it on the compost heap," he added.
Greenpeaces Blake Lee-Howard agreed.
"Its a relatively shallow and insubstantial work compared to other reviews that have been conducted," he said.
He added a Greenpeace International report on the same issue had reached radically different conclusions.
For Brown, incineration could be the most environmentally sound solution.
"There is no such thing as a good way of getting rid of waste, but as part of an integrated waste management strategy which optimises recycling and re-use, there is an environmental case for incineration because that actually produces energy that is useful," Brown said.
He added that organisations criticising the report were only voicing concerns about recycling. But there would always be wast left after recycling, he said.
"They are criticising it tactically, they are nit-picking at the report, but I think they would not actually disagree with the conclusions," he said.
But Greenpeaces Lee-Howard did not agree.
"Obviously we have objections to incinerators because of recycling and because of the threat to genuine renewable energy schemes, but we also object to incinerators because we think they are a danger to public health," he said.
"They simply should not be built and operated," Lee-Howard said.
He said the debate should focus on maximising recycling before turning to incineration.
"Lets achieve a recycling rate currently being achieved in Germany and the Netherlands - over 50 percent - then lets debate incineration."
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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