No to Incineration, yes to Zero Waste

Gasification = Incineration

BBC1 Spotlight Tuesday 22:30  on Illegal dumping around Derry.
(Click the Spotlight link to view the programme via BBC iPlayer.)

Say No Again!

Unless we act, Derry City Council are going to sign a contract that will tie us into the  gasification of not just our own waste but the waste from six other borough councils as well as other ‘unidentified’ waste for at least the next 25 years!  With the stroke of a pen it will make Derry the dumping ground of North West polluting our air, our river and lough and the surrounding countryside.

The gasification facility has already received full planning permission but has yet to secure its operating license and contract.  Stopping the signing of the contract is therefore vital!

Alarmed that there is little knowledge of this development in a city that has twice  rejected a waste incinerator, an ad hoc group has come together to inform the public!

Why are we alarmed?

Although the ‘spin’ from council is that gasification is an environmentally friendly way to deal with our waste, while creating renewable energy, in reality in terms of its harmful effects: gasification = incineration 

What’s the difference?

Incineration burns waste directly releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere in the process, leaving toxic ash that must be disposed in landfill sites.  Gasification heats the waste in a sealed chamber denying it sufficient oxygen to be able to fully burn.  This produces gas and a toxic ash/slag.  This ash/slag again has to be disposed of landfill sites.  Meanwhile the gas is burned in boiler to generate electricity and again toxins are released into the atmosphere.

Why are we opposed to this facility?

  • Increased risk of cancer and respiratory disease through exposure to mercury and dioxins.  These toxins are persistent and bioaccumulative; they resist breakdown in the environment and are concentrated in the food chain.
  • Waste gasification adds both directly and indirectly to the build-up of greenhouse gasses in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Many of the materials that provide the best fuel for a gasification facility are the sorts of things most easily re-used, recycled and composted.  This facility takes us in the wrong direction requiring us to feed it 120,000 tonnes of waste annually.


Professor Vyvyan Howard  a toxiopathologist specialising in the study of nano-particles, including those released by incinerators explains The  Dangers of Gasification Incineration 

What we think should happen

  • At this point in our understanding of global warming, Derry should be doing its part to move us in the direction of zero waste.
  • We should seize the opportunity of creating new sustainable employment in environmentally sound waste management enterprises and an associated industry.
  • We should be protecting and enhancing the environmental status of the Lough Foyle area rather than threatening this vital ecosystem.


Mal Williams executive director of Zero Waste Wales explains why Derry City and Region should adopt a Zero Waste Strategy.

The ”Lets Recycle” website has an explanation of the planned project.