Incineration No – Zero Waste Yes

Mal Williams from Zero Waste Wales, speaking via an internet video link at the Zero Waste NW public meeting in the City Hotel on Thursday 19th September, said: ‘waste is a mistake’.

He went on to talk about the Museum of Bad Design in Capannori, Italy.  It gives awards to products designed to be thrown out after one or two uses. Not only is this wasteful of time, energy and resources but it has resulted in a worldwide problem with landfill sites emitting methane gases and more plastic than plankton in the oceans.

Mal has been involving communities in Wales in setting up simple systems for doorstep sorting and collecting of resources.   He gave an example of  the village of St Arvans in South East Wales, where with minimum funding it increased its diversion from landfill rate from 35% to 67% in one month!  This is good news for councils facing massive fines under EU landfill directives and a possible alternative to the £500 million MBT and Gasification project proposed by Derry City Council and the other six councils making up the NW Region Waste Management Group.

Paul Connett a professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, also speaking via an internet video link from New York, called the proposed 25 year contract  for the incinerator at Strathfoyle: “preposterous”.   He talked at length about incineration produces nano-particles of bio-accumulative toxins.  He concluded by offering to come to Derry to debate the merits of gasification-incineration compared to a Zero Waste approach,  with any engineer prepared to speak in favour of the process.

Councillor Shaun Gallagher and Mark H Durkan, NI Minister of the Environment, were among those attending the meeting. Minister Durkan said afterwards that, although planning permission had been given for the gasification-incinerator,  neither the permit to operate nor the contract have yet been signed.   He said: “This will land on my desk and I am open to all sides of the argument”.

Eamon O’Donnell from Enagh Youth Forum said his concerns are for the health of the young people living in Maydown and Strathfoyle.  Paddy Casey, UNITE’s convenor in D.C.C spoke about the 4Rs project in Pennyburn which takes furniture, electrical goods and bicycles from the recycling depot, trains young people in their repair and then sells the quality items to the public.

Mary Mc Guiggan ended the meeting by leading a rousing rendition of The Derry Air with new lyrics for the occasion – 
”No Incineration. It’s Zero Waste for me!”  [Full lyrics below the video]

Below is a video of the  complete meeting.

It runs for 80 minutes.  Some shorter “highlights”  will be available in a few days when our video editing team have been put to work on it.


Below are the complete lyrics of Derry Air –  (You know the tune!)

Derry Air

Oh, Derryair, the people, they are calling
From glen to glen and down the mountain-side.
“We want clean air and no incineration
T’is you, t’is you must go and we must bide.
Don’t come ye back to spoil our precious meadows
Nor when our valley’s hushed and white with snow.
For we’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Derryair, Oh, Derryair, we love you so.”

If you come here, our flowers they will be dying
And we’ll be dead and dead we sure will be.
For you won’t care what place I will be lying,
An Ave you will hardly say for me.
And I shall hear though soft you tread above me.
Your toxic waste, you hope you’ll hide from me!!!
Yet you will bend and tell me that you love me.