The livestock belonging to the farmers in Engidalur valley in Skutulsfjördur in the West Fjords, 300 animals, were taken away for termination on Wednesday after having been subject to dioxin pollution from the waste burning station Funi in Ísafjördur.
The fjord Ísafjördur. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Steingrímur Jónsson at Efri-Engidalur lost 80 sheep and 19 cattle. He told Fréttabladid that farming has come to an end at his farm and that he doesn’t know how to progress from here. “It is undecided. Now I’m just putting everything away and thinking things through.”
A statement from the Ísafjardarbaer municipality said it will cover all the costs of the animals’ slaughtering and the disposal of the carcasses and that and that the valley will now be allowed to recover, “until it is certain that it is free of all pollution.”
Decisions on further actions await the summer when results from pollution samples from the soil will be submitted.
Meanwhile, specialists at the University of Iceland (HÍ) and Matís, an Icelandic food and biotech R&D company, are trying to raise funds for a research study of up to 120 children because of pollution from waste burning stations Ísafjördur, the Westman Islands and Kirkjubaejarklaustur, in south Iceland.
The plan is to test hair samples from children aged five to ten, up to 30 children at each location for heavy metals, including lead and dioxin, in addition to a reference group.
Thórhallur Ingi Halldórsson, a lecturer at the HÍ health science department, who is working on the fundraising along with Hrönn Jörundsdóttir, project leader at Matís, said such studies are usually carried through abroad under similar circumstances.
“Children are much more vulnerable to these chemicals and they are in more contact with dust and soil outside than adults,” Halldórsson said. “Uptake of these chemicals is therefore often proportionally higher among children than adults.”
Click here to read more about pollution caused by waste burning stations in Iceland.