Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (59)

Joe Sherlock

Question:

181 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the scientific basis for his recently expressed view that incinerators were less harmful to the public than exhaust fumes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2882/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The Inventory of Dioxin and Furan Emissions to Air, Land and Water in Ireland for 2000 and 2010, published by the EPA in December 2002, provides a useful indication of the relative significance of various emission sources for dioxins. As regards the nine hazardous waste incinerators in operation in the year 2000, the report estimated these to have contributed a fraction of 1% of national dioxin emissions to air — tables 1 and 4.2 of the report refer. By comparison, dioxin emissions from the transport sector were estimated to be more than 140 times higher. Even assuming that 1 million tonnes of municipal waste might be managed by way of incineration in 2010, the report projects that dioxin emissions from waste incineration would account for less than 2% of total dioxin emissions to air at that time, and less than half of the emissions attributable to the transport sector.