Bid to use toxic gas at Port of Tauranga blocked

Port workers and people living near the Port of Tauranga can breathe a sigh of relief following a successful bid by the Green Party and other groups to block the use of a potentially fatal gas at the port, said the Green Party today.

An Independent Commissioner this week declined an application by Envriofume Limited to discharge the potentially fatal air pollutant Methyl Bromide at the Port of Tauranga. Methyl bromide is used to fumigate logs for export.

The Commissioner noted that methyl bromide is known, or suspected, to cause cancer, genetic mutations, and neurological disorders, and that Envirofume’s proposal could have resulted in significant adverse effects on human health

“It's fantastic that the Commissioner has recognised what the Green Party and others have been saying for a long time – that port workers and the neighbouring community should not be exposed to this potentially fatal pollutant," said Green Party pesticides spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“We are grateful that the Commissioner’s decision recognised a number of the concerns we raised in our submission around the health effects of methyl bromide.

“This is just the first step. Methyl bromide continues to be used at the Port of Tauranga by the company Genera, and the Regional Council has to ask if it’s use is being conducted in a safe manner given the Commissioner's ruling.

“The technology now exists to recapture this gas during the fumigation process, so there is simply no need to risk exposing workers and communities to this potentially fatal gas.

“Ports throughout New Zealand should look at this decision and make sure any use of methyl bromide is not putting workers and neighbouring communities at risk,” said Mr Browning.

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