A troubling presentation


It was very informative to attend the Saturday, March 2 public meeting in Campbell’s Bay regarding the proposed incinerator. Organized by Judy Spence and the newly formed group, Citizens of the Pontiac, the main event was three well-received, informative Zoom presentations, now available online: https://www.citizensofthepontiac.ca/Media

Dr. Paul Connett, retired PhD chemist from England, and author of The Zero Waste Solution, made a compelling case against the incineration concept. For example, once the contract is signed, the MRC will be obligated to supply 400,000 tons of waste annually, thus penalizing future attempts at waste reduction or recycling.

Shocking fact #1: garbage is 25% ash, so when we burn 400,000 tons, we will be left with 100,000 tons of toxic ash annually. This requires a toxic landfill site of its own, eventually creating a giant toxic mountain on the landscape. If the incinerator needs to be shut down for repairs, the garbage flow does not stop, and a landfill site is also required in that scenario.

Wendy Bracken is a Durham region, ON resident and active in opposing the local incinerator there, which was built by one of the companies being considered for the Pontiac project. It has been touted by proponents here as “state-of-the-art”. Wendy’s video presentation details a chilling list of missteps dealing with the monitoring and exceedance of toxic dioxin emissions at the Durham-York incinerator. Dioxin is serious stuff. For example, the incinerator near Paris, France was built in 2007. In 2022, a warning was issued for backyard chicken owners in a 10 km radius not to eat the eggs due to high dioxin levels.

A new concern with incinerators – in fact, with combustion of any kind – is nanoparticle emissions, which is a very recent field of research. Nanoparticles have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, and health effects are not well understood yet. Nanoparticles have no weight, and therefore don’t show up (yet) in emissions monitoring or regulations. 1 gram equals 3 quadrillion (3,000,000,000,000,000) nanoparticles. Therefore, the precautionary principle should apply for this reason alone.

Spending $120,000 on a business study was a waste of taxpayer dollars. The public health costs will be presumed as non-existent for a “state-of-the-art” project with “the most up-to-date” pollution control equipment. Sadly, air quality regulation (and enforcement) is a provincial jurisdiction in Canada and is behind the times.


Norbert Senf,