Waste Incineration

Waste incineration is an important issue currently facing Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The Provincial Government announced approval of Metro Vancouver’s Solid Waste Management Plan in July 2011 and, much to the dismay of many Fraser Valley residents, did not remove the waste to energy incineration option. While the City of Chilliwack wholeheartedly supports Metro Vancouver’s plan for reducing the amount of waste generated and the diversion of as much waste as possible to reuse and recycling, the City must oppose the construction of an incinerator,which will represent a major new point source of pollution in the Fraser Valley. 

It has been established that the Fraser Valley is a unique air shed with significant vulnerability to pollution due to the funnel effect of the surrounding mountains. The sensitivity of the air shed has been underlined in reports by leading UBC researchers including Dr. Douw Steyn and Dr. Ian McKendry. Both of these experts have stated that adding the air pollution load from an incinerator to the local air shed is a critical concern. This is no different from the arguments put forward during the debate over SE2 which Metro supported. 

The City agrees that there are many sources of pollution and that they should all be reduced as far as possible. That is the only way the air quality in the valley can be improved to the point where citizens can enjoy the quality of life that they are so entitled. 

Adding a significant point source to an already stressed air shed is not a reasonable approach to take. The argument that waste management represents ‘only’ 0.3% of the total pollution load is untenable. We should be trying to reduce the pollution load, not make excuses for increasing it. In addition, garbage is a very complex fuel that leads to significant emissions of concern. Even the best pollution control technology will not remove 100% of the contaminants emitted from burning this complex mixture of chemical compounds.

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