“I’ve met people who only developed asthma after moving to the area”: NHS doctors crack down plans for incinerators in north London
A group of locals led by NHS staff from North Middlesex Hospital demonstrated this weekend against plans to expand an incinerator in Edmonton, north London.
The local councils in north London – including Enfield, Waltham Forest, Haringey, Islington, Camden and Hackney – will burn capacity on 16th.
The current incinerator, located in the Edmonton EcoPark on Advent Way, just off the A406, has been burning rubbish in Edmonton since 1971.
READ MORE: West London rubbish for recycling is illegally dumped in Malaysia
The incinerator, which has reached the end of its operating life, is slated to be decommissioned as soon as the transition to a new one can take place if the North London Councils vote to award a construction contract for the project.
An action group called Doctors Against the Edmonton Incinerator, led by Dr. Edward Tranah, of North Middlesex Hospital, has protested the North London Waste Authority’s plans to enlarge the incinerator and instead urges council presidents to support cleaner, alternative ways of dealing with local waste.
From Edmonton Green Station, the doctors marched down to the EcoPark with posters and signs condemning the plans.
In an interview with MyLondon, Dr. Tranah: “In North London, waste is currently managed in such a way that when it is not being recycled by households, businesses or schools, it is put in a black bag – whatever it is – and sent to an incinerator in Edmonton located at North Circular.
“It’s random. It’s not sorted. As soon as it is in a black bag, it is simply sent to the incinerator and burned. “
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In the past few days, Dr. Tranah held a one-man protest outside Edmonton Green Railway Station, where he posted a banner denouncing the incinerator and distributed leaflets to raise awareness among local residents.
“What I find really interesting is that a lot of people on the street know the building but don’t know what it is,” he says, adding that he takes his annual vacation to hold the protest.
“We have very low recycling rates in north London, which I think is the biggest problem,” he adds.
(Image: Doctors Against Edmonton Incinerator)
The NHS doctor explains that he initially participated in protests against the incinerator for “climate and environmental reasons”, but also underlines the social impact that the incinerator could have on local people.
He says, “There are many concerns about what is coming out of this chimney.
“As a doctor, I have met people who only developed asthma after moving to the area, but I am not aware of any evidence linking the incinerator to any disease in North London as no study has been published but it could argue that the lack of studies is part of the problem.
“We burn all kinds of materials and we don’t even have a study of how the fumes affect the people who work and live in the area.
“We are only calling for the precautionary principle to be applied. There is enough worry. “
Dr. Tranah notes that the incinerator “was built within the M25 in a densely populated, very poor area of London with a large proportion of people of color,” says Dr. Tranah that the incinerator’s presence in Edmonton is “a pretty strong argument for environmental racism” “.
He hopes that the campaign to prevent the expansion of the incinerator will get the North London Council to think about new laws to limit how waste is considered non-recyclable and to think about different ways of waste management.
“The only fuel that is more carbon-intensive than mixed waste is coal,” he says. “We consider this type of burning to be no longer justifiable”.
Dr. Tranah suggests that instead of expanding the incinerator, North London could invest in a “mixed materials recovery facility” that uses technology to sort into different categories such as plastic, cardboard, paper and glass.
“These materials can then be cleaned and put back on the market. It’s a growing market and a huge project, ”he says.
“We just want our air to be cleaner and a kind of climatic, ecological degradation to be avoided.”
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