Are MBT and EfW safe? Will there be health implications for those living near the facilities?
MBT has not given rise to any perceived health impacts. Thanks to new technology, EfW shouldn't be confused with older generation incinerators. The standards which EfWs now comply with are much stricter than those which applied to old-style incinerators.
There are over 400 EfWs operating safely across Europe. Any arc21 facility will use proven technology and will be strictly regulated and controlled by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
Extensive research, including that by the Health Protection Agency, has found no credible evidence of adverse health implications for people living or working close to the EfW facilities.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has assessed the potential impact of dioxins from the incineration of waste on food produced. Its report states that:
"FSAI considers that such incineration facilities, if properly managed, will not contribute to dioxin levels in the food supply to any significant extent and will not affect food quality or safety. The risks to health and sustainable development presented by the continued dependency on landfill as a method of waste disposal far outweigh any possible effects on food safety and quality."
In December 2008, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency stated that a proposed new facility in Dublin "will not endanger human health or harm the environment in the vicinity of the facility or over a wider area".
The majority of safety incidents which occur in the waste industry relate to the manual handling and sorting of waste, particularly during collection. EfW facilities are highly automated with no manual handling. Accordingly, the safety record for these types of plants is very good, with greater risk associated with collection, sorting and transport activities.
EfW and MBT plants are safe for those who live and work close by, as well as those who work in the facilities.
Pictured above is an EfW facility in Denmark.