My 1999 report on Puerto Rican activists' struggle against incinerators
PUERTO RICO: Environmentalists Say No to Incinerators
According to Rosario, 217 dangerous substances had been identified in incinerator ash and smoke emissions by 1990. These include nitrogen oxides and sulphur, (both of which cause acid rain), arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, benzofurans and hydrocarbons.
These dangers to human health are so evident that the American state of Rhode Island and the Canadian province of Ontario have both banned incinerators, says Rosario.
Furthermore, Rosario warns that incineration could spell death for the Puerto Rican dairy industry.
“In January of 1998 three incinerators in northern France were closed because they polluted the milk of local dairy farms,” he says. “Two months later, the incinerator in Maubeuge, also in northern France, was found to be emitting dioxins at 1,000 times the legal limit. In both cases the milk had to be decommissioned.”
He also mentioned that milk had to be decommissioned in Rotterdam in 1989 because it was found to be polluted by a nearby incinerator.
“I’d like to ask the Puerto Rico Senate – which will have to approve or disapprove of incineration – and dairy farmers, are we going to play Russian roulette with this country’s dairy industry? Who will want to buy local dairy products in the future?” says Rosario.
He points out that cow’s milk is not the only milk that is in danger. “In 1985 the Sw