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Letters to the Editor
By André Carrière, The Ottawa Citizen, 27 August 2006

The short sightedness of the editorial writer who produced the recent opinion piece on waste management and Ottawa area landfill sites was astonishing and showed an unacceptable lack of knowledge of modern waste management methods.

In a myopic take on the subject, there is no mention of the new and proven waste management technologies, which are superior to our fixation with expanding landfills. The “because it’s here let’s expand it” rationale put forward in the editorial is woefully inadequate if not misleading.

Burying our waste is not the way to go and endorsing the expansion of existing landfills because one does not choose or want to examine alternative methods and solutions does a disservice.

New technologies such as plasma gasification should have been raised in the editorial. There is also no mention of modern incineration, a technology that has improved dramatically and is now at a point where it should be readily considered as a superior alternative to massive landfills.

The writer’s rationale for expanding the Carp Road and Navan area landfills is that because they exist these two facilities should be expanded. Urban circumstances and development do change. Until the Corel Centre, now Scotia Bank Place, was developed and the western edge of Kanata expanded by several kilometers and many thousands of people, few of us likely gave thought or noticed the mountain of waste that is the Carp Landfill.

But the Carp Landfill no longer sits in relative isolation. It is a massive and ugly reminder to the many thousands of people who live nearby or pass by it daily, that burying our waste is an outdated and inefficient method of dealing with the by-products of urban industrial and residential activity. The residents in Cantley, Quebec are unfortunate witnesses to what can go terribly wrong with landfills.

Expanding or creating new landfills may represent excellent private sector business models as evidenced by Carp, Navan, Cantley and others - but we must look to other models, in concert with the private sector or not, to bring us to a more efficient level of dealing with our waste.

As annoying or distasteful as the subject may be, as communities, both large and small, we must approach waste management from a broader perspective. We must begin to think more strategically about it. We must examine and implement new and alternative waste management technologies and we must have all sectors of our society – residential, commercial and industrial involved at every level of the process. If you or your organization produces waste, and we all do, then you must share in the responsibility of how that waste is managed – from beginning to end.

I would argue that the level of debate about expanding existing landfill sites also says something about the growing priority, in the public’s mind, about waste management. It’s a problem that’s here to stay.

While the resolution of the existing sites around the region will not please everyone, perhaps their resolution will at least bring the discussion to a point where we finally begin to seriously examine new technologies and new approaches to waste and garbage management. Before ever returning to the subject, your editorial writerwould better serve the Citizen’s readers by paying closer attention to all aspects of the debate.

André Carrière, President
Coalition Against the Danford Mega Dump
819-684-8876
819-467-5391



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