Friday, 23 July 2010

Talking rubbish

THERE is a wee bit of a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) culture amongst the Northern Ireland political classes.

The latest NIMBY example is concerning waste incineration.

Anyone who looks at the total rubbish and waste we fail to recycle in Northern Ireland, and that which can’t be recycled, will realise that we need to do something with it.

Given that using Lough Neagh as a superdump is a no-go, as was devoting vast swathes of South Armagh to legalise illegal dumping, means another solution had to be found.

First up for a waste incineration site was on the north foreshore of Belfast Lough. That was quickly shot down. The next up is a site just to the north of Belfast, but within Antrim Borough Council’s boundaries.

Ulster Unionist MLA, Danny Kinahan has called for clarity from Environment Minister, Edwin Poots on what exactly are the pros and cons of waste incineration.

This, of course, is what could be the first shot in a bout of NIMBY politics, but we’ll give Mr Kinahan the benefit of the doubt.

And, we should perhaps ask all politicians to think before opening their mouth to change feet. Do they wish to critically analyse the evidence for any proposal? Or do they want to pander to the gallery?

Here’s the scenarios: your local hospital is closing a department because of lack of trained and trainee staff. Do you (a) examine reports from Royal Colleges and medical experts, or (b) start painting a banner and join a picket. In ‘Scenario Two: A waste incineration site is to replace a landfill. Do you (a) spend a wee bit of time looking at scientific and engineering research, reports and evidence, or (b) start painting a banner and join a picket.

Option (a) takes a wee bit too much time out of an MLA’s hectic diary. And, given that we are already all thinking about the forthcoming election, well it will have to be option (b) then!

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