Letter: Burn away the dioxin threat

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The Independent Online
Sir: Reducing the amount of dioxins in our diet, while certainly highly desirable, will not be achieved in the way proposed by Dr Elliott (Letters, 20 May). It is necessary to consider all the ways in which dioxins enter the food chain.

Waste combustion, unlike many other processes, is closely monitored and has to meet very strict emission standards, as she points out. Older incinerators have been closed, and waste combustion is today not significant among known sources of dioxin (A Review of Dioxin Emissions in the UK, HMIP 1995). There are of course in addition many unknown and entirely unregulated sources.

The only way dioxins can be destroyed is by combustion. Modern energy- from-waste power stations are net destroyers of dioxin and opposition to them on emission grounds is counterproductive. Combustion of waste that cannot be recycled is an essential component of the drive towards more sustainable waste management and the attainment of renewable energy targets. That is why it is encouraged in the UK, as in most European countries.

RAY PALIN

Director, Energy from Waste Association

London W2

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