Dust clue to incinerator's spread
THE report about the "Saharan sand" published on Friday, June 29 is interesting and demonstrates rather spectacularly to us all in the South West how far airborne pollutants might travel, if released into the atmosphere.
The Herald reported on the pale pinkish dust deposited on cars and windowsills across the whole Plymouth area on Wednesday and Thursday, June 27 and 28.
The material intermittently arrives from the European mainland and, as on this occasion, from North Africa, 2,000 miles away.
These particles are large enough to see, gritty and relatively dense. If visible, particles this large can travel this distance on air currents, ultra fine particles a thousand times smaller, invisible to the unaided eye, will travel at least as easily when ejected into the atmosphere from a furnace chimney to a height of 500 feet.
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The foreign dust is a nuisance and perhaps a health hazard to us for short periods a few times a year, at worst. The planned Plymouth incinerator will continuously release up to 40kg of finer dust per day, as well as acidic gases, into our atmosphere (and that of South West Devon) for the next 25 to 40 years (24/7), under the permit issued by the Environment Agency.
MVV Environment Devonport Ltd, theMOD, city planning officers and the city's previous Conservative leadership would have us all believe the incinerator emissions will only have a limited range and localised impact, assuring most Plymouth districts that they are clear of any impact from the planned development. This is untrue, as these natural dust fallout events clearly demonstrate.
SEAN C M O'HARA