Media release from Regional Councillor Paul Bruce
“Recapture of fumigants is another small step in the right direction for our 100% New Zealand pure brand, ” according to Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Paul Bruce. “I am delighted for all the Port workers and crew on log-carrying cargo ships that CentrePort has declared its intention to move to recapture technology. It also means that we will finally be following the intent of the Montreal Protocol of 1987, which placed an obligation on signatories to
“minimise emissions and use of methyl bromide through containment and recovery and recycling methodologies to the extent possible”"
Cr Bruce said that he also seeks reassurance from CentrePort that they will publish regular updates including fumigation figures and outline progress towards introducing recapture technology and the use of alternative methods so that there is a high level of public transparency with respect to progress being made.
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Notice of motion – Cr Paul Bruce
Councillor Bruce has given notice of his intention to move the following motion at the Regional Council’s meeting on 20 March:
“That the Council:
Environmental Risk Management Authority decision November 2010, requires all methyl bromide fumigations to be recaptured within 10 years, and where recapture technology is not used, annual monitoring reports to the EPA, local Department of Labour and the relevant Medical Officer of Health, and that all monitoring reports will be published on the EPA website
That recapture is necessary because of the high level of public concern about the hazardous nature of methyl bromide and to protect the ozone layer, in accordance with New Zealand’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol
That the annual reports outlining progress towards introducing recapture technology and the use of alternative methods supplied by CentrePort to EPA have not been made available to the Public or Greater Wellington Regional Council
That Port Nelson requires that all methyl bromide fumigations within its Port operational area to be recaptured according to a Port Code of Practice and the Nelson City Council Air Plan
The Port Nelson Code of Practice, which incorporates fumigant recapture, has been accepted by the fumigation operator, timber industry representatives and Port Nelson Ltd (PNL). Compliance with this Code is the responsibility of the fumigator and a requirement in order to operate at Port Nelson
2: As majority shareholder:
Congratulates CentrePort on its intention to move to recapture technology for the fumigant methyl bromide in this next financial year
Recommends that CentrePort publishes regular updates including fumigation figures and outlining progress towards introducing recapture technology and the use of alternative methods so that there is a high level of public transparency with respect to progress being made
Media release from Regional Councillor Paul Bruce – March 18
CentrePort needs to up its game and move to recapture technology for methyl bromide fumigations, in the light of a damning report. Paul Bruce said today that a 2012 Customs Service report shows that 90 per cent of shipping containers sampled had dangerous chemicals including methyl bromide in the air, with 18 per cent above safe levels. Less than one per cent of containers displayed correct fumigant signage. Customs Service had failed to release the report will forced by an Official Information Act request.
“This report confirms our concern that Wellington port workers are being exposed to this toxic chemical,” said Cr Bruce. “The lack of recapture also means that residual methyl bromide is still vented into the air, eventually destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere, in spite of NZ’s obligcations as a signatory to the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
“I have placed a motion on the Order Paper of the Regional Council’s meeting this Wednesday which asks CentrePort to move to recapture technology this year.
“Port workers and nearby communities do not deserve exposure to toxic fumigant gases. We need to urgently put in place procedurs to recapture methyl bromide from shipping containers and log fumigations, rather than releasing it into the air we breathe.
“Recapture is used at Port Nelson, following an Environment Court air quality case which followed the deaths of six port workers from motor neurone disease.
“The dangerous levels of methyl bromide is a particular concern. A neurotoxin, methyl bromide is colourless, tasteless, and odourless, making it impossible for people to know if they are in contact with it. It also depletes the ozone layer.
“Methyl bromide use has doubed in the past five years to 469 tonnes in 2011, which means that last year New Zealand destroyed 236 tonnes of ozone.
“CentrePort has moved fumigations to holds of ships and within containers, but has yet to move to recapture technology in spite of an ERMA decision in November 2010 which requires recapture within ten years. CentrePort has also refused to make public detailed fumigation information and annual information supplied to the EPA.
“My motion calls for a faster movement to recapture technology, given the toxic nature of this gas and its impact on the ozone layer. It also asks CentrePort for greater transparency in its dealings with the public, with reports such as the Customs Service report and the EPA annual fumigation report supplied to the public.”