Letter: Buried treasure is bad for you

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sir: I was amazed to read that the Bank of England 'no longer burns' old bank notes, but disposes of seven tons a day to landfill 'to avoid pollution' (25 October).

The Royal Commission on disposal of refuse last year clearly came to the conclusion that incineration, in a modern incinerator with energy recovery, was the least environmentally damaging way to dispose of all combustible material. Modern incineration does not produce air pollution and leaves an inert non-toxic residue.

Landfill was considered the least desirable method. Decomposition of organic material such as papers produces methane (18 times worse than carbon dioxide with regard to global warming). Also, water seeping through the dump leaches chemicals into the ground water - the ink used to print bank notes contains toxic chemicals. Landfill sites produce long-term pollution of both air and water, which will require careful continuous monitoring and treatment well into the next century.

Yours sincerely, MARY JONES Etwall, Derbyshire 26 October

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