The Hazards Of Burning At Landfills

  • Simon Upton

The Minister for the Environment, Hon Simon Upton, is extremely concerned that open burning lingers as a traditional approach to reduce the volume of waste in the landfills of many smaller communities. Mr Upton has written to all local and regional councils alerting them to the hazards of open burning at landfills.

Mr Upton reminded landfill operators and enforcement agencies that open burning is not permitted under the Resource Management Act without a consent, and that no such consents have been granted. It is likely also that open burning would be prevented by the Occupational Safety and Health Act because of the hazards it poses both to workers on the site and to the community. Although many of the reported fires were likely to be accidental, or lit by people with malicious intent, it appears that some were lit deliberately by landfill operators.

"Such behaviour is simply not appropriate," said the Minister. "Clearly an effort is needed both by operators to reduce accidental fires and by enforcement agencies to take action where fires are deliberately lit", Mr Upton concluded. The Ministry for the Environment has, with the
assistance of the consulting firm Woodward Clyde (NZ) Ltd, prepared a report, Hazards of Burning at Landfills.

It sets out in clear and straight forward terms the hazards of open burning and methods to reduce the likelihood of fires occurring.