Experts say burning of sludge safe

December 7, 1998

I refer to a letter to the editor written by Rob Jessome, entitled "Protocols must give way to action on tar ponds," published in Saturday, November 28th's Cape Breton Post.

Two and a half years ago there was a proposal to cover up the tar ponds with a carpet of slag. Incineration was the first and second recommendation, but it was cheaper to bury it so that's what was chosen.

Forty people would have been employed at that time -- but a cover up was not safe for the community so it was opposed. Poisons cannot be buried without severe repercussions.

International experts say that incineration is the safest way to clean up the sludge in the south pond. That was determined two-and-a-half years ago, and educated people in the field are still saying it.

The steelworkers in Cape Breton have had family who died because of the industry. They don't want any more dying because of the environmental disaster created by their industry. They want it cleaned up. Burning that sludge has to be better than letting it sit there to move up the food chain.

Mr. Jessome states "International experts with a proven track record indicated the tar ponds are not unique. They stated the mess could be safely cleaned now. Steelworkers advocate an action that would better serve the interest of the community."

A small anti-incineration segment of the community, who are not international experts (nor are they experts at all) would prefer to see the tar ponds sit there and continue to contaminate, than to burn it and get rid of it once and for all.

Mr. Jessome is right. We have real problems. There is a growing sense of urgency. It is time that someone take the bull by the horns and at least get started on the tar ponds. If we wait for JAG, my children will be writing letters on this same topic in twenty years.

Yours truly,
Fran Morrison

Letters to the Editor

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