Toxic materials – burn or dump?

Wednesday February 06, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

For some years I have argued the merits of burning or dumping toxic materials, as have a number of other concerned residents – especially our esteemed Dr George Ngaei.


I have burnt some plastics in the past but in a semi-controlled environment – in a safe area, early in the morning, and only in an easterly that takes the fumes back to China where the problem mostly originates.

The airport has since 1973, been doing the same – about nine months of the year during an easterly.

And at times the Arorangi Rubbish Dump (aka Landfill) catches fire.

My reasoning is that it is better to burn and be rid of the problem, than to place the offensive material in any dump where it will continue to leach toxins for probably hundreds of years - and pollute the land, the airport drain (the old Nikao Dump is polluting the drain now), the lagoon and the fish.

And now there is a further problem - given the flurry of construction on Rarotonga for the last five years – can you imagine the small mountain of timber offcuts that there would be if all were brought to one place.

And imagine if it was all placed in the Arorangi Rubbish Dump – which would amount to a small mountain of toxic timber that has mostly been treated with chemicals in New Zealand.

I have now been informed that last week the landfill refused to accept timber offcuts - and those on duty advised that the offcuts should be burned - just like the timber is burned on many building sites.

Is it illegal to burn toxic timber offcuts?

Should the timber only be burnt in a northeasterly wind?

Perhaps the Environmental Service can help …

            Brian Baudinet

            Nikao, Rarotonga

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