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Eliminating dioxin

Page - December 6, 2006
Dioxin is one of the most lethal synthetic chemicals known. According to World Health Organisation figures, "A piece of dioxin the size of a small grain of rice, if distributed equally and directly to people, is equivalent to the 'allowable' yearly dose for one million people."

Greenpeace and Sawmill Workers Against Poisons (SWAP) placed signs on all confirmed and suspected dioxin contaminated sites around Whakatane.

Dioxins are part of a group of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) known as "the dirty dozen". Dioxins are the only member of this group still legally pumped into our environment. However some of the other banned POPs, such as dieldrin, and DDT continue to contaminate New Zealand's environment.

In May 2001, New Zealand signed the Stockholm Convention, so is obliged to work towards eliminating the dirty dozen, and in particular must eliminate dioxin.

What we want

  • The elimination of dioxins in New Zealand, including ending incineration
  • The New Zealand Government must put the Stockholm Convention into practice by banning the import of PVC, closing dioxin-producing incinerators, sawmills and paper mills
  • The Government must set a standard of dioxin exposure for our communities and environment that will protect present and future generations
  • All contaminated sites where chemicals containing dioxin were used and dumped, must be identified, registered nationally, isolated and cleaned up to a level safe for any human activity
  • Free and suitable health-care for people who have been contaminated by dioxin, and for their children and grandchildren who have also been affected
  • Compensation for families affected by dioxin poisoning
  • Honouring Te Tiriti - all contaminated land that is potentially part of Te Tiriti settlements must be cleaned up before it is returned