July 14th

International Day of Alternatives to Incinerators

International Day of Alternatives to Incinerators

World Alternatives to Incineration Day was announced on July 14 by the international network GAIA (Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives). Over 230 organizations in more than 60 countries organize awareness events on this day. The date was chosen for the first day of the meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Preparation of the Stockholm Convention on the Ban and Restriction of Persistent Organic Substances. Incinerators are one of the main sources of leakage of these substances into the environment.

Why incinerators are dangerous
They release up to 1922 toxic substances into the air, water, and soil. The most commonly mentioned dangerous substances are dioxins, which damage the immune and hormonal systems of humans. The most toxic dioxins are carcinogenic. In addition to dioxins, there are also other substances such as dimethyl phthalate, bromodichlorophenol, benzene, hexachlorobenzene, and others.
In 1994, medical waste incinerators in the USA were responsible for 40 dioxins in the air. Therefore, most developed countries insist on their control and capture, which is complex and expensive. The resulting waste from capture must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Because it often takes the form of ash or fly ash, it is difficult to monitor where incinerators dispose of it. Most incinerators in the southern hemisphere have little pollution control equipment or even none at all. Incinerators in these countries are often located in rural areas, making it easy for dioxins to enter the food chain.
What are the alternatives to incineration
In the Czech Republic, approximately 34% of municipal waste is recycled. For comparison, Germany already recycled 60% in 2012, and Flanders 70%. The money for building new incinerators in the Czech Republic could be used to improve the current situation. Environmentalists propose introducing a discount for municipalities to motivate households to separate waste, building plasma incinerators, or using mechanical-biological waste treatment. However, tens of thousands of tons of high-quality recyclable materials still end up in incinerators.

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