Monday, June 26, 2006

The Art of Burning Waste

Photo: The rather eccentric looking incinerator on the Isle of Man!

In the UK we currently deal with every 10 bags of rubbish in the following way: 6 landfill; 2 recycle ; 2 burnt in incinerator. We are struggling to recycle fast enough in order to avoid more landfilling so, the government is pushing for more incineration-to-power plants. Trouble is, as usual, no wants an incinerator in their back yard. In the Bexley area of Kent for example residents have been fighting such a proposal for 13 years. A smaller plant has now been given the go ahead. To be fair new EU legislation has meant all incinerators have had to improve their filter technology on their stacks so as to emit fewer pollutants. A site in North London was closed for a number of months just so these new filters could be installed.

The interesting part of the rubbish debate is the NIMBY effect, where the selfish gene of the human psyche rears its ugly head. Everyone contributes to the weekly rubbish pickup from their front gate but, obviously no-one wants to see it dumped at the end of their road! Still, it has to be dealt with somehow and somewhere. It is also grossly unfair that poorer neighbourhoods take the rubbish from the 'leafy' suburbs. OK, maybe building these incinerators out in the countryside is one solution. Apart from country folk objecting there is the problem of getting waste to the plant. River transport is one way that will be used to get rubbish from London to the new Bexley incinerator. A mature debate is necessary on each and every incinerator proposal but it must not be allowed to be hijacked NIMBY-ism!


At 2:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

saw this on the net thought it was interesting

Sir Stelios Knighthood Cover Up
Stelios was granted a knighthood but no journalist has stepped up to the plate to investigate whether it was appropriate to grant a knighthood to a Monaco resident tax exile who is extremely controversial.
In April 1991 when Stelios Haji-Ioannou, was chief executive of his father's business Troodos Shipping, their tanker Haven blew up off Genoa, killing five crew and disgorging up to 50,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea - arguably the Mediterranean's worst-ever ecological disaster.
The Haven was an elderly tanker, formerly the Amoco Haven, sister ship of the ill-starred Amoco Cadiz that foundered in 1978. Stelios was accused of poor maintenance and charged in Italy with manslaughter and intimidating and attempting to bribe witnesses. He faced a lengthy jail sentence and liability for hundreds of millions of pounds compensation. Stelios blamed an error by one of the surviving crew. He was acquitted but the case has dragged on ever since with subsequent appeals and demands for compensation thrown out.

Environmentalists also must be appalled that a person who was personally responsible for an increase in pollution due to his extensive use of elderly ineffiecient aircraft in the early days of easyJet prior to its merger with GO. Is rewarded with a knighthood.
Tax treatment of aviation fuel as opposed to heating oil and petrol.
Inland Revenue investigators must also see the reward as a slap in the face for hard working UK tax payers.

During the last 25 years Stelios has polluted the world. He has been accused of bribery and intimidation. He has avoided tax. He has been taken to court hundreds of times. And yet he is knighted.

When is a journalist going to make a name for themselves by investigating Stelios thoroughly and expose him? Stelios Haji-Ioannou's success? what success is that? every single business he has started has failed with huge losses of £100s of millions. The only reason easyJet went ok was firstly because his shipping tycoon dad financed the operation and his brother and sister were co-owners. Please tell the world how successful easyInternet, easyCinema, easyCarRentals, easyWatches, easyMobile, easyMusic, easyBus, easyHotel, have been. I can inform you that they have lost a cummulative £300,000,000.00 since inception. The only reason he got his knighthood because of his donation to the Labour Party it had nothing to do with the queen. As Stelios is a Monaco resident and a tax exile he is only entitled to an honarary knighthood anyway and as soon as the newspapers catch on it will be downgraded. Or if he wants to keep it he can register for UK tax and pay millions to the Inland Revenue!

At 2:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe any hope that the problem of climate change can be solved within the existing economic framework of Neo-liberal capitalism will prove to be utterly unfounded. To try to put this right without rectifying the clapped out global financial system won’t work and environmentalists doing so will carry on coming up against a brick wall. They need to look at the way this system works and intellectually grow beyond the conditioning that economics and finance can only be understood by economists and financiers. Of course its true that they are doing something very useful in highlighting to the unaware the “elephant standing in the corner” but we’re all locked in to an economic system that blocks substantial change. **New Para**

Let me try to explain. The two main cornerstones of Western economies are usury and speculation. Usury in that the vast majority of money in circulation has been electronically created by the commercial banks and is called by them “credit” and is lent to Governments and individuals for quick profit not for a particular motive of world betterment. Nothing moves when electronic money circulates when you use your debit card, direct debits, cheques etc and when Governments borrow money- all that happens is that one account’s data entry is debited (decremented) and another credited, (incremented). So this money can be created at negligible cost to the banks because it is created and exists only as a DATA entry in our electronic bank accounts and is exchanged between them as such only. The stuff in your wallet/purse created by the Royal Mint for the Bank of England (whose revenue DOES accrue to the state) represents a tiny fraction of the ‘money’ that exists, the vast majority originated as loans mostly created by the commercial banks under this “fractional reserve banking system”, circulates electronically and the vast profit (interest) accrues to bankers not Governments. For more information on how this amazing system has evolved (which one could be forgiven for thinking has been deliberately designed with a main aim to enrich private financial elites) in the UK and many, many countries I refer you to the expert writings & books at Even pretty low corporation tax is often avoided by the use of foreign tax havens, (At least £20 Billion total in the UK per annum avoided at 2003 figures- [War on Want pamphlet]). The need for the continuing increase of the assault on the world’s resources substantially stems from the imperative of “economic growth” which is necessary to keep up with the ever spiralling overall interest payments due on the explosion of different types of loans created by commercial banks and other private interests. I read that the exponential growth in private credit has been allowed to occur with all its wanton increase in the consumption of resources and debt hardship because of outsourcing by corporations of huge amounts of skilled & unskilled jobs to developing countries with cheap labour and minimal regulations under globalisation (“corporate flight”). With the generally decreasing availability therefore of properly paid quality jobs, to make ends meet governments and individuals in richer nations have had to be allowed to borrow more and more. I recommend the reading of the website and books by the US professor of economics Ravi Batra who has a lot of hard hitting and extremely interesting things to say on this matter, **New Para**

I refer to the ‘cornerstone of Speculation’ in that National economies and their populations are utterly dependant on the $2 Trillion or so (equivalent) that changes hands electronically every DAY- untaxed- around the world on the “financial markets” in search of speculative quick profit unrelated to any exchange of real goods or services. Utterly dependant because National Governments create hardly any of the money that is in circulation at all as I have already explained and they need to compete internationally to keep on attracting this privately created & transmitted globally mobile electronic money which has become the lifeblood of all our economies. Financiers and corporations increasingly trade IN money not WITH money, since deregulation in the 1980s- eg Removal of foreign capital exchange controls (and credit controls) which happened then. Why did we multi-nationally cede so much control over our economies then to those which to many might seem like a load of locusts? Are the ones (IMF, WB?) who inspired our national leaders to do this still in positions of influence? In this “liberalised” regime why create, innovate and trade in cumbersome goods when one can make far more far quickly and with far less risk just by moving money (data) and money instruments between computers around the world? Almost all the global financial institutions and even many corporations are at it. A “monstrous global casino” in the words of sustainable economics columnist Hazel Henderson. Any government that even publicly SPEAKS of restricting it, or taxing it, or significantly environmentally regulating the stock market listed business that it invests in, or getting off the absurd merry-go-round of competing with other nations to clamp down on corporation tax so as to attract employment and capital, or creating their OWN electronic money, or even threatening tax havens, faces economically disastrous capital flight to nations NOT doing so within hours on the trading computers on the stock markets and the derivatives computers of the international corporations and banks. You see how the financier oligarchy has got us all over a barrel? No Government dare even publicly consider democratically demanded change to the status quo. No corporation dare significantly reduce the current quick profit return to its international capital investors by SIGNIFICANT investment in alternative forms of energy & transportation as to do so invites a declining share price and capital flight to corporations not doing so. The intellectual economist Lyndon LaRouche in Executive Intelligence Review (see below) actually uses the term “Financier Oligarchy” referring to the way our ‘democracies’ are going under the economic & corporate globalisation I have already described. If you think carefully about it you might realise that under neo-liberalism what we as nations are all having to do is compete to make fabulously wealthy owners of international capital- grow even richer- for no effort. A POSSIBLE SOLUTION to re-establish control over international capital and corporations by electorates and governments is proposed by “The Simultaneous Policy” at and I believe progressives might feel their strategy warrants consideration. **New Para**

Most mainstream media outlets are owned by stock market listed corporations. Does anyone believe such a corporation will allow SERIOUS debate in its pages or TV stations, of reform to the international financial system when it is this system that is the investment hand that feeds it, both owning the shares and placing the corporate adverts? Does anyone seriously believe that one example tabloid and TV/news station owning international corporation that currently pays no corporation tax in the UK by the use of tax havens will seriously allow such debate in its media outlets? I’m not suggesting columnists and editors are directly told what to say and what not to, but they know there are limits which they must not cross if they are to retain their jobs which are mostly in the form of shortish term renewable (or not) contract posts. And most of them seem never to have asked themselves what money really is, who creates it, who administers its circulation, who profits from it and why no Government of left OR right credentials strangely refuses to reinstate fair corporate taxation and environmental regulations ONCE IN POWER despite the obvious dire financial state of our public services, worsening annually, and the developed countries paltry aid to the developing ones whose populations are starving to death in their millions monthly for the want of the huge surplus of food per capita that exists worldwide (Some 10%- look up UN Statistics). It should be obvious surely that there’s a CHRONIC lack of money for foreign aid and public services for all our government’s pathetic obfuscation that the latter need “modernising”, ie. another round of cuts. The neo-liberal free movement of capital & corporations is leaving the competing nations’ governments with almost universally chronically cash starved national assets- everything from palaces to prisons.**New Para**

I believe that Planet Earth’s environment is in a sad and perilous state which each day brings it nearer to the critical, and that even the most dire prophecy falls short of the calamity facing the world today, (this quote from Anyone who seriously believes that humanity can burn off gigantic amounts of carbon into the atmosphere daily over some 200 years (in the form of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels) that had been gradually accumulated beneath the earth over hundreds of MILLIONS of years, and while annually cutting down tens of millions of acres of atmosphere purifying tropical forests- all of this without incurring MAJOR upheaval and destruction to the earth’s life supporting natural climate systems- is conditioned and deluded indeed. **New Para**

I believe that only a total and systemic collapse of the world’s financial system will bring humanity to its senses and- (even though I know this itself would cause major trauma for a while because we have allowed stock market listed corporations to take over most food and energy production and distribution worldwide)- it is my belief and hope that this is coming to pass. (I refer again to the writings of economics professor Ravi Batra). The men of money’s selfish greed and competition is over-reaching itself at long last and the frantic efforts to prop up the system behind the scenes are at long last crumbling. “The REAL economy has fallen out from under the markets which have been artificially propped up by accounting tricks, enormous and unpayable debt loads, and mass delusion on the part of the markets and the public” (John Hoefle banking columnist, and refer also to the writings of economist’s Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review for more information, The signs of the oncoming collapse are obvious for those who look beyond their own narrow interests and look below the surface at powerful people’s MOTIVES- not what they SAY but what they DO and WHY that might be- with objectivity. People who bother to READ & STUDY widely. Anyone who thinks that substantially unrestrained powerful people in today’s out of democratic control globalised capital/corporate world will not try to manipulate to retain and enhance their own selfish interests, and who denounces those who highlight this as “conspiracy theorists”, is deluded and conditioned indeed. They have just not reflected seriously on the sad condition of greed and fear of loss as well as spiritual poverty and poverty of intellect that dominates the natures of many, many of our fellow human being financier oligarchs in power. We live in a competitive economic culture which makes a VIRTUE out of greed and it's essential we realise it, detach from it and protest against it. As a species we’ve got some major waking up to do if we are to survive.

At 1:37 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

Agree with the term mentioned within the last post that the world's financial system is one giant 'global casino'. It is a feeding fenzy for those few that contribute towards it, making them as individuals and corporations extremely wealthy. Of course they won't take their snouts out of the trough; so, how is it controlled or re-designed? Of course this is difficult to answer. It maybe that the South American nations have the answer; by renationalising their assets, their infrastructure. In essence, taking control. Those nations that have raw materials that other parties want have a better chance of making this work.

Yes, there are whole systems of government that no longer want to serve their people. They are in power to utilize their corporate connections and amazingly do this openly without any care to cover their tracks. They obviously feel that nobody can or will touch them. Will financial systems collapse happen and bring these people to their knees? Hard to say! After Argentina imploded many interesting things did happen at ground level with ordinary people trying to regain control of their lives. There are possibly lessons from that experience that could be useful to rebalancing ownership in favour of more ordinary people but, the 'global casino'is a beast that no-one controls. It will take many knives to bring it to its knees! And even then we would all need to know and understand what that beast was to be replaced with.

At 11:34 pm, Blogger Saskboy said...

Incinerators that toss smoke as high as possible are such an old technology it's a wonder we still use it. The old idea of moving the smoke high enough to be blown away no longer works in a global village like we now have. We know our smog affects other countries, so why they let us get away with building more, is anyone's guess. There must be a way to burn things, but to capture and solidify the smoke waste, so it at worst is a ground pollutant, instead of an air pollutant contributing to soot, smog, and global warming.

At 7:15 am, Blogger Matt Burge said...

This site is useful; , for health information.

Disposal of incinerator fly ash is also a problem, with dioxins and other lovely chemicals mixed up in it. Still, this hasn't stopped it from being mixed up with other materials to be made into building blocks, known as 'thermalite'. They're used in every new build now and some say it will be the next asbestos.

Agree that incinneration seems a step backwards and a licence for all to create vast quantities of it. Recycling however is slow and cumbersome and therefore struggles to keep up. But as my daughter keeps chanting 'reduce, reuse, recycle'. Her generation my begin to get it right!


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