A poll of 500 Toronto residents conducted by The Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV from November 2 to 7 has found that Toronto residents strongly favor incinerating garbage if Michigan closes its border to the city’s waste.
When asked about alternatives to shipping Toronto garbage to Michigan, 72 per cent said they support (strongly or somewhat strongly) incineration, assuming it produces little pollution. Twenty per cent oppose the idea.
Mayor David Miller, flat-out rejects the idea, saying, “A better poll question is ‘Do you support tripling the cost of disposal of garbage?'” Miller argues that a modern incineration plant would cost three times the current $52 per tonne fee Toronto pays to export its waste to Michigan.
Councillor Jane Pitfield says the poll confirms what she is hearing from residents — that they are willing to explore alternatives. “We need to look at everything and be open minded,” she said, disputing arguments that incineration is too costly or adds to pollution.
Toronto recently launched its own environmental-assessment process, expected to take four to six years, to look at all options (including incineration) to get rid of waste not diverted from landfill. Toronto has set a goal of diverting 60 per cent of its garbage from landfill by 2008 and has committed to end shipments to Michigan by 2010.
Details on the incineration question:
Strongly support: 45%
Somewhat support: 27%
TOTAL support: 72%
Somewhat oppose: 10%
Strongly oppose: 10%
TOTAL oppose: 20%
The poll is considered accurate to within 4.4 percentage points, 95 per cent of the time. Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.