Onsite residential waste combustion is a non-point source of pollution typically practiced in rural areas and small towns. Most of this activity is conducted using domestic incinerators (“burn barrels”) and backyard fire pits.
In 2002, the Canadian council for Ministers of the Environment (CCME) commissioned a study to estimate Canadian dioxin and furan (PCDD/PCDF) emissions from this source. Based on this study, residential waste combustion in Canada was estimated to contribute from 20 to 40 grams per year of dioxin/furan TEQ to atmospheric emissions. This represents from 12 to 22 percent of the total Canadian dioxin/furan emissions to the atmosphere and, if unabated, the study concludes that onsite residential waste combustion could become the largest atmospheric sources of these compounds.
CCME commissioned the study to:
summarize the existing regulatory system in Canada (provincial and municipal) as it pertains to onsite residential waste combustion;
summarize current initiatives in Canada and the United States that are designed to address this waste management practice;
provide examples of approaches and tools employed by these initiatives, including legislation, bylaws, educational tools, etc.;
analyze and assess selected initiatives regarding their effectiveness and applicability to a Canadian context; and,
recommend strategies and options to reduce emissions in Canada.
The study recommends community and government leadership initiatives, education and outreach program, appropriate waste management policies and adequate levels of service, and implementation of regulatory systems including local bylaws.
For more information please see www.ccme.ca
Source: November edition of the monthly newsletter produced by Gowlings’ Environmental Law National Practice Group.