Q: Isn’t the proposal for a waste gasification plant, and not a waste incinerator?
A: A Gasification plant is an incinerator. Gasification plants are included in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) definition of “waste incinerator” (Please see the following CCME documents:
2007 Review of Dioxins and Furans from Incineration In Support of a Canada-wide Standard Review
Also note that a recent Northumberland News editorial stated that despite the title of “gasification plant”, REM’s proposed plant would is in fact a “low-heat incinerator”.
Q: Aren’t these types of waste incineration projects common in Europe?
A: Not using this technology. The ENTECH gasification technology which REM proposes to use in the Port Hope plant has until now only been used in parts of Asia, and Eastern Europe. This is evident from the fact that when REM took a council delegation to see a plant operating using the technology they propose for the Port Hope incinerator, the delegation was taken to a small plant in Poland which processes only medical waste, and on a dramatically smaller scale ( only 1.2 thousand tonnes per year) then the proposed Port Hope plant.
More broadly, waste incineration is more common in Europe than in North America. This has not been a success story. Recently a group of over 33,000 doctors wrote to the European Union urging them to recognize that incineration poses a threat to human health. This letter, as well as other examples of European doctor associations opposing incineration, can be found in this presentation by Dr. Sean Godfrey (Chief of Pediatrics, Lakeridge Health Oshawa). There have been many examples of European incinerator companies promising new, safer, cutting edge technology, only to repeatedly exceed emission standards and damage their communities’ health and economy. For further information, see our HEALTH CONCERNS page.