Soil & Health today joined with Green Party members including MP Sue Kedgley, Greenpeace, and student protestors outside Wellington’s CentrePort log yard to alert morning commuters to the use of methyl bromide there.
“The morning event included white protective suited protestors with gas masks and banners demonstrating the serious risks of the neurotoxic gas that is released to the Wellington air in large quantities following fumigation of export logs,” said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“The Greater Wellington Regional Council appears to be stalling a ban of the release to air of the toxic and ozone destroying gas.”
“We have met with the Council and since then there have been improvements in observation of the fumigation, but the monitoring results so far prove that they do not know where the gas is escaping to and whose health might be affected.”
“It is an insult to the intelligence of Wellington people for Council to suggest that the gas is not exceeding health standards when hundreds of kilograms are being released with each fumigated log shipment.”
“Everyone knows that methyl bromide destroys the atmospheric ozone layer. Greater Wellington Regional Council can show leadership by insisting that methyl bromide gas be recaptured after use or discontinue its use. New Zealand, with an increase in methyl bromide use of more than 300% since 2001, is a world leader in skin cancer caused by high ultra violet radiation that is increased by weakened atmospheric ozone.”
Methyl bromide (CH3Br) is an odourless, colourless gas, used as a pre-shipment fumigant pesticide that kills all pests and is extremely toxic to humans.
Human exposure to methyl bromide has potentially serious acute impacts on the central nervous system and internal organs that can be fatal, with chronic exposure associated with a range of neurological effects such as motor neurone disease.
“The log exporters’ concern about economic impact must be a very big second to the health risks posed to the community and the damage to the ozone layer. Gas capture technology must urgently be installed if log exports are to continue from Wellington,” said Mr Browning.
“A public statement is now needed from the Port Company and Regional Council, that release of toxic fumigants into the atmosphere at Wellington will stop permanently.”
“Clean alternatives to toxic or ozone depleting gases must be implemented in keeping with Brand New Zealand’s Clean Green 100% Pure image, and Soil & Health’s vision of an Organic 2020.”