A Toxic Legacy | The Jackal

4 Mar 2011

A Toxic Legacy

Audio Version.

Pulp and Paper mills, what’s really in your factories waste discharge? It wouldn’t be methyl mercaptan, hydrogen sulphide and chlorine by-product perhaps, as well as the sludge containing dioxins, PCP and other toxins? All discharged into our waterways. What does Environment Waikato and the Minister for the Environment think about this, or do they even care? Do they not know the danger of the substances they play with? On so many occasions, representatives refuse to acknowledge that the substances being released as waste by-product from their factories are toxic and cause ill health. But there are ample examples to prove them wrong.

It is not only paper mill workers who are affected by these toxins. As you're most likely aware, the waste contains carcinogenic substances. Yet the companies state; “because there’s no conclusive studies done into the effects of the waste on the human organism, then the waste cannot be proven to cause adverse health effects.” But there are numerous studies showing adverse reactions to these substances. What I would like to know is what proportion of the inhabitants living in proximity to these polluting industries, have cancer and other diseases attributed to substances contained in the waste discharge? These statistics are kept very secret.

Carter Holt Harvey believes that because the substances are released into the environment away from the populace, that the word “toxic” should not apply. Now I’m not one to nit pick but the word Toxic, is exactly the correct descriptive terminology. We’re talking about some of the most poisonous substances known to mankind. To think that the estimated 10,060,000 Tonnes of waste discharged yearly from pulp and paper mills into NZ waterways, does not cause a toxic reaction is just moronic! The pollution contains dioxins, mercury and other harmful substances, which finds its way into the Waikato River and thus into Auckland’s drinking water. People who eat fish from these areas are highly affected.

Yet Carter Holt Harvey says they will not be limiting the amount of waste discharge from Kinleith in any way even though there are limiting specifications in the resource consents. When waste by-product discharge is above the resource consent limits, what happens? Nothing! They can do whatever they like because the authorities that are meant to protect the environment and your health are in their pocket, paid off by blood money earnt at the people’s and Earth’s expense.

It is difficult to remedy the mindset of big business, even with the body of evidence presented to polluting industries concerning the destructive effects the substances they release cause. Common sense would dictate that such waste should be contained and correctly disposed of or not created at all. Instead it’s dumped into the environment without a second thought. It would appear that New Zealand is not as clean and green as it is purported to be. With one of the highest cancer rates in the world, New Zealand should really take a closer look at itself.

It’s not just the big C though, reproduction abnormalities, breathing and skin disorders (just to name a few reactions) are some of the ailments attributed to waste by-product from Pulp and Paper mills. What a horrendous legacy, which will cause untold misery in our country for many centuries to come.