Forum against incineration

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Judith Spence, event organizer, was at the lectern while Liz Benneian from the Ontario Zero Waste Coalition presented online at the March 2 forum on garbage incineration in Campbell’s Bay.

Don’t get burned!
An afternoon of incinerator opposition

Deborah Powell
Local Journalism Initiative

CAMPBELL’S BAY – More than 100 people attended a public forum held in opposition to the Energy from Waste project at the Campbell’s Bay Rec Centre, March 2. Organized by the Citizens of the Pontiac group, the event was advertised with the title “Pontiac is making plans to build an incinerator: is our community about to get burned?”.

Organizer Judith Spence welcomed participants explaining that the purpose of the session was to provide information about the health, environmental, and financial impacts of incinerators. “We’re lucky because it hasn’t been built yet”, she said, underscoring the importance of putting the project on hold while implementing alternative actions to reduce waste such as removing compostable material from household waste and introducing effective recycling practices.

The forum featured a series of online presenters, starting with Dr. Paul Clennett, Phd in chemistry and long time opponent of incinerators and proponent for zero waste. He began by declaring that an incinerator in the Pontiac was an absurd solution for the waste problem of a rural area, considering that the Pontiac would be left with more tons of toxic ash than it currently produces in municipal waste. He encouraged citizens to “use their common sense” and work towards zero waste.

Next, Linda Gasser, a retired journalist and resident of the Durham region, spoke about the history of the Covanta incinerator in Courtice, Ontario. She encouraged citizens to engage, educate, organize and empower themselves to oppose the incinerator project.

Finally, Wendy Bracken from Durham Environment Watch and Liz Benneian from the Ontario Zero Waste Coalition, presented a “Cautionary Tale” that highlighted the need to debunk the myths of the industry regarding incinerator emissions, including persistent organic pollutants and greenhouse gases, and how they are monitored.

The presentations given at the event are currently available on the website: citizensofthepontiac.ca.