The affairs of the waste burning station in Kirkjubaejarklaustur were discussed at a crowded civic meeting in the local community center last night. Approximately 200 residents were in attendance.
Kirkjubaejarklaustur. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The meeting was held by Chief Epidemiologist at the Directorate of Health Haraldur Briem, veterinarian Thorsteinn Ólafsson and Kristín Linda and Sigrídur Kristjánsdóttir from the Environment Agency of Iceland, Morgunbladid reports.
“It was a good meeting. We wanted facts and we got them. It was confirmed that 90 percent of dioxin in the body accumulates through consumption; regarding the emissions from the waste burning station, it is not a grave concern,” commented Eygló Kristjánsdóttir, head of the local municipality, Skaftárhreppur.
Oddur Bjarni Thorarensen, a Kirkjubaejarklaustur resident, said the meeting was good although he is still concerned.
“It was stated that two to ten percent of dioxin in the body accumulates due to inhalation and that the worst pollution is found within a 150-meter distance from the station, which is in a residential area,” Thorarensen said.
“Haraldur [Briem] admitted that studies on dioxin are incomplete and he rather downplayed the long-term toxic consequences. Yet he still thought there was reason to test people at Klaustur [short for Kirkjubaejarklaustur],” he added.
Thorarensen has refrained from sending his children to school lately because of pollution from the waste burning station, which is located right next to the school.
“It was clearly stated that precious little is known and I can’t send my kids to school again because they’re still burning waste during the day,” he concluded.
According to Fréttabladid, those who are most critical of the waste burning stations claimed that the meeting was an attempt at a whitewash by officials. Others commented that the meeting had been useful.
At the meeting, concern was expressed regarding Kirkjubaejarklaustur’s image as a travel destination. People welcomed the upcoming medical examinations and volunteers for dioxin testing came forward.
Click here to read more about dioxin pollution.