Environment Minister to Investigate Dioxin Pollution Skip to content

Environment Minister to Investigate Dioxin Pollution

svandissvavarsdottir_althingiMinister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir says she will request an investigation of high levels of dioxin pollution from the waste burning station Funi by Ísafjördur in the West Fjords and other waste burning stations where dioxin pollution is over the limit.

“I will call for a thorough investigation of the entire matter. There is full reason to review it in detail from the beginning to the end. Anything else would be unacceptable on behalf of the government,” Svavarsdóttir told Fréttabladid.

“The goal is to find out who might be responsible in this matter but first and foremost to learn from what has happened and seek opportunities for improvement,” the minister added.

Svavarsdóttir said she will have an independent party undertake the investigation, probably a university institution, and that the investigation will go back to 2003 when an exemption was requested from the European Union and European Economic Area regulations on pollution.

“I want to have information on the table as to in what manner the exemption was requested, what arguments were provided and how the government came to the conclusion that it should be requested in the first place,” the minister said.

She added it is also important to find out whether the conditions of the exemption were fulfilled. “That concerns, among other items, measurements from the waste burning stations, such as what happened in 2008 when the results on dioxin measuring from the waste burning stations were provided. I ask what the administration’s reaction was and what decisions were made, under what conditions and how they were carried through.”

Svavarsdóttir said the investigation will concern everyone who was involved in some way and that the obligations of local authorities, supervisory institutions, operators, public health supervision authorities, the Environment Agency and the Environment Ministry will be defined.

“I want to know whether public interests were protected and whether the public’s right to information was guaranteed in a satisfactory manner,” the minister commented.

“This concerns administration in environmental matters where important interests of nature and the public are involved and therefore there is a sound reason to make sure these interests were protected,” the minister concluded.

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