Review needed on release of highly toxic gas at ports

The Green Party is calling on WorkSafe and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undertake an urgent review of the ongoing use of methyl bromide – a highly toxic fumigant – at ports across the country.

The call follows a decision made by the Environment Court last Friday to block an application by Envirofume Ltd to fumigate logs for export using methyl bromide at the Port of Tauranga.

Envirofume’s application to use methyl bromide was rejected on the basis that it could harm people’s health and contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. The Court also concluded that methyl bromide should only be used to fumigate logs in dedicated areas designed to recapture the gas.

“This decision makes it clear that this highly toxic fumigant shouldn’t be used unless it is very carefully recaptured. Yet multiple ports in New Zealand still fail to protect their workers by safely recapturing the gas," said Green Party pesticide and biosecurity spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“Under the Montréal Protocol, the Government is meant to phase out the use of ozone-depleting methyl bromide by 2020, but since 1990 its use in New Zealand has increased tenfold.

“Workers and residents near the ports of Napier, Tauranga and Whangarei are potentially being exposed to methyl bromide as there is limited recapture of the gas in those places.

“We need both WorkSafe and the EPA to do their job, stop the unsafe release of this toxic gas, and protect both workers and the environment.

“Methyl bromide, if inhaled, can have long-term impacts on the brain, increase the risk of cancers and neurological issues. We shouldn't be exposing anyone to this stuff.

“Because the gas is colourless and odourless, people don't even know if they’ve inhaled it until well down the track, when they have potentially serious health issues," said Mr Browning.

Latest Environment Announcements

Petition

Take action to protect our oceans

We’re taking the health of our oceans seriously and our Thriving Oceans Plan sets out exactly how the Green Party will protect them so we all can e...
TAKE ACTION

Thriving Oceans

Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet and home to thousands of taonga species, providing us with nourishing food to feed our families, supporting ...
Read More

Farming For The Future

Here in Aotearoa, we can have a thriving and sustainable farming sector that is good for farmers, good for people, and good for the planet. By maki...
Read More

Story

More action on waste – Government funds recycling infrastructure, moves to standardise kerbside collections

$36.7m Government investment in high-tech recycling plants nationwide Plan to standardise and improve the nation’s kerbside collections As part o...
Read More

Story

New rules for the outdoor storage of tyres

The Government is introducing environmental standards for tyres stored outdoors announced Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage. “A ...
Read More

Story

Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem p...
Read More

Latest Agriculture Announcements

Story

Environment and climate will be decimated by National’s dangerous agriculture policy

The Green Party is slamming National’s agriculture policy as a huge step backwards which puts future generations at risk.
Read More

Agriculture and food production

Aotearoa can have a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector that responds to the challenge of climate change while protecting food security, p...
Read More

Policy

Agriculture and Rural Affairs Policy

A strong and diverse agricultural sector is an important part of an economically viable and environmentally sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand. Farme...
See More

Story

Organics legislation will mean greener, more sustainable food and products in New Zealand: Green Party

The Green Party welcomes legislation that will create certainty for people locally and overseas who want to buy organic Kiwi products.
Read More

Policy

Clean Water, Great Farming

The Green Party has a plan to support farmers to move to less polluting, more environmentally sustainable and more profitable ways of farming so th...
See More

Policy

Honest food labelling

We have a right to know where our food comes from and under what conditions it was produced, so we can make informed decisions about what we buy an...
See More