500 signatures reached
To: Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Say no to dangerous Methyl Bromide emissions from Port of Tauranga
Please do not approve the resource consent application RM19-0663 by Genera Limited seeking authorisation for the discharge of the following contaminants to air associated with the fumigation of quarantine or pre-shipment goods and materials
Recapture technology and adherence to nationally prescribed exposure concentration rates. Recapture technology is proposed for all container and break-bulk cargo fumigations undertaken, as well as the majority of on-wharf log row fumigations (that are undertaken under tarpaulins). Recapture of methyl bromide from the holds of ships is not proposed.
The proposed activity does not meet the definition of effective recapture in Plan Change 13 of the Regional Natural Resources Plan and the application is therefore a non-complying activity under rule AQ R20. The applicant requests a consent period of 10 years.
Why is this important?
New Zealand is one of the world’s biggest users of methyl bromide, used mostly for killing insects and pests on logs being exported to China and India. Most fumigations happen at the ports of Tauranga, Whangarei and Napier.
Methyl Bromide is a harmful toxic fumigation gas that is banned in most countries around the world as it is known to damage the ozone layer and has serious health effects on humans. It can have neurological and other health effects on humans and there have been several reports of port workers falling ill after being exposed to the gas – which is odourless – during fumigations. Communities in places such as Picton and Nelson believe that clusters of motor neurone disease and cancer were attributable to the use of methyl bromide at the ports.
Articles for more information:
Our community is exposed to this odourless gas every day as Genera's technology can only recapture up to 80% of Methyl Bromide. 20% (40 tonnes per year) is dispersed over surrounding areas of children's sports fields, schools, homes, boaties and the Marae. Because the Port of Tauranga's stormwater drains are sand-based, the Methyl Bromide washes into them and eventually seeps out into our harbour that we fish and swim in, destroying our environment and eco-systems.
Genera want to use Ethanedinitrile (EDN) which is a cyanide based fumigant. Cyanides are well absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract or skin and rapidly absorbed via the respiratory tract. Once absorbed, cyanide is rapidly and ubiquitously distributed throughout the body, although the highest levels are typically found in the liver, lungs, blood and brain.
Hydrogen cyanide is a colourless or pale blue liquid or gas. In air cyanide is present as gaseous hydrogen cyanide with a small amount present in fine dust particles. Cyanides have the potential to be transported over long distances from their respective emission sources. The lethal exposure for EDN at 267 ppm is immediately fatal therefore much worse than Methyl Bromide where lethal exposure is 7,900 ppm at 1.5hrs.
In addition, EDN is extremely explosive with a detonation velocity of 2,500 m/sec. If there was a detonation at the Port of Tauranga in a ship that had been fumigated with EDN the explosion would be larger than the recent explosion in Beirut.
The solution to the problem of fumigating at the Port of Tauranga is to remove all fumigation to industrial zones such as the Rangiuru Business Park where fumigation would take place in airtight sheds on rail wagons (99.9996% destruction rate) with the fumigated logs being transported to the Port of Tauranga for immediate loading into the ships.
For the immediate and long term health of our families and eco-system, please sign this petition to indicate your opposition to Genera Limited's resource consent application RM19-0663 and ban all Methyl Bromide fumigation at the Port of Tauranga.