The Minister for the Environment has called upon those municipalities that have garbage incinerators to reduce or stop the practice while the full extent of dioxin being released by them is investigated.
As reported, dioxin emitted by garbage incinerators in the West Fjörds, the Westman Islands and in Kirkjubæjarklaustur has turned up in milk and meat from these area. Although the immediate danger to humans is low, there have been calls to shut down the incinerators, most recently from Social Democrat MP Ólína Þorvarðardóttir. In a column she wrote on Eyjan, she pointed out that by law, the Ministry has the right to shut down any business whose practices are endangering the environment.
Vísir now reports that Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir has responded by calling for the incinerators at these municipalities to shut down operations or at least drastically reduce them while the ministry fully investigates the extent of dioxin pollution that stems from them.
Kirkjubæjarklaustur has already decided to stop burning trash during school hours, as residents had requested. In the Westman Islands, Mayor Elliði Vignisson told RÚV that while he understands the minister’s response to the problem, he would expect the government to cover at least part of the cost of dealing with unburned garbage.
The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority does not believe people are in any special danger of dioxin poisoning. Although the levels of dioxin found in meat in milk have been above the “acceptable” amount, it still takes high concentrations of the chemical to do real damage to the system.
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