On 28/10/21 NMI, Matraville Precinct Chair, Steve McAndrew and Randwick Councillor Noel D’Souza met NSW EPA and a senior advisor from Matt Kean’s office. Our wide-ranging discussions were based on a large amount of referenced documentation and previous correspondence, including our meeting with them in April 2020, which were sent to them prior to this meeting. We noted the following:
The NSW EPA’s current strategy is flawed: We reiterated our previous conversation with the EPA of 21/10/21 that the NSW EPA’s current strategy employing WtE as a means of managing Sydney’s waste was based on flawed advice which put the health of NSW residents and the environment at risk. Also, the EPA’s view that the WtE Industry could be “switched off” once NSW transitioned to a Circular Economy was false, as EU experience showed once WtE is embedded into an economy, it is impossible to remove and worse it kills off any attempts to create a Circular Economy or foster recycling.
The NSW air quality guidelines are inadequate: The Minister’s representative stated that NSW had the strictest air quality guidelines in the world. We pointed out current guidelines in the Energy from Waste Policy Statement were NOT, citing discharge limits for particulates as an example (see our submission). Also, the EU had over 750 pages of requirements due to problems in managing WtE – compared to the 3 or 4 tables of requirements listed in the EPA’s policy.
Burning waste in Sydney Basin will be disastrous: We reviewed our contour plot which showed the impact if waste is burnt in the Sydney Basin and how the plot was developed. The EPA ‘s policy allows four regions for waste incineration, including Southern Goulburn Mulwaree (Tarago) and West Lithgow (Mt Piper). We pointed building waste incinerators south of Sydney or the Blue Mountains would result in pollutants being blown into the Sydney Basin, which was a natural “collector” blocked by the Blue Mountains. Hence no waste incineration should happen in these areas (or anywhere else).
Plus, there are no requirements in the current policy to safely manage ash produced from WtE which cannot be treated, recycled or immobilised to stop toxic heavy metals and organic pollutants leaching out – despite what the WtE industry says. So, this it has to be landfilled as Hazardous Waste forever.
NMI is not spreading “misinformation”: The EPA said they wished to “work with residents” in the four designated areas to educate them about waste incineration and wanted NMI to stop spreading “misinformation”. We pointed out that each of the “designated areas” already had groups opposed to waste incineration with access to their own experts and NMI was not in the business of spreading “misinformation”. All NMI documentation released was referenced and we stood ready to provide further documentation/proof and meet again as required.
Harmful impact on people and environment: The meeting closed with Steve and Noel reiterating residents’ concerns in having a WtE incinerator within 100m of homes, kids swim schools and day care centers.
Take Out: The EPA and Govt stated that they couldn’t comment on, or confirm that Suez and OPAL would not be allowed to build their incinerator, but that new legislation would be introduced either late this year or early 2022.
So the fight continues! OBJECT NOW!