Garbage – Denmark, US and Sri Lanka


A speech I read (at is topical, given our recent calamity. It compares proposed garbage disposal activities planned in Denmark and the USA. The Denmark design is to maximize benefits to the public and minimize harm. Not to maximize profits for a few, who then kick back some of it to even fewer ‘decision makers’.

How may we make our decision makers give priority to the public interest? Are we entirely powerless?

A few excerpts from the article follow.

…  And a typical U.S. garbage incinerator produces vast quantities of pollution, horrible smells, dioxin, mercury, nitric oxide, lead, and particulate matter. If you live near such an incinerator, your chances of getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and respiratory problems shoot through the roof … That’s why in recent years the students at Benjamin Franklin High School and Curtis Bay Elementary School in a poor and already heavily polluted section of Baltimore, Maryland, had to organize and — thus far — block the construction near their schools and homes of what would have been the biggest and nastiest incinerator yet. … The Baltimore incinerator, the construction of which has been stopped thus far, would have burned 4,000 tons of trash per day and emitted 1,240 pounds of lead and mercury per year.

… an incinerator, or waste-to-power plant, now nearing completion in Copenhagen, Denmark. If you have to have incinerators, because you have not yet reached zero waste, you might want one like this one. It emits none, zero, not a speck of all those nasty poisons and smells that an American simply assumes an incinerator must produce, as illness must produce health insurance companies, as robberies must produce gun sales  …  Because this incinerator is not dangerous to those near it, it can be placed near a city. This will allow it to heat 160,000 homes while providing electricity to 62,000 homes, and generating a byproduct of water while burning something over 1,000 tons of waste a day, or a quarter of what was planned for Baltimore. And because it’s placed safely near a city, this particular power plant has had ski slopes installed on the roof of it, with elevators used to bring skiers to the top.  … None of this means that the incinerator is not still a problem. It still produces carbon dioxide. However, it produces much less of it than do other plants. 



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