Toxic waste protests halt shipment to Denmark

Protest from opposition groups has stopped a shipment of toxic waste from leaving Sydney bound for Denmark.

Greenpeace protestors at Orica (image courtesy of Greenpeace)

Greenpeace protestors at Orica (image courtesy of Greenpeace)

The Danish government postponed the deal to receive 6,000 tonnes of waste after intense local and opposition party dissent.

The waste was due to be shipped to Nyborg in Denmark to the Kommunekemi incineration plant early this month.

The waste, HCB (hexachlorobenzene) has been stockpiled in Australia for 40 years and is considered to be one of the most dangerous environmental toxins in the world.

In Sydney police rescue crews were called in to remove Greenpeace demonstrators from the containers at the Orica plant.

Greenpeace CEO Dr Linda Selvey said: "Greenpeace is taking action to stop Orica getting away with a major environmental crime. Orica should take responsibility for its own toxic waste."

The protestors want the Australian authorities to build safe disposal plants in the country rather than shipping the toxic waste overseas.

The Danish government stressed that they were postponing the shipment to discuss the issue further not cancelling it.

Danish minister for the environment, Karen Ellemann said: "Due to concerns both in public opinion and on the political stage, I deemed it was not appropriate for the first [waste-filled] ship to leave right now."

In a statement published on their website, Orica said they were 'disappointed' with the decision and 'will continue to liaise with both Governments on the issue'.

In the meantime Orica will continue to store the waste in fully licensed storage facilities at the Botany Industrial Park in Sydney. Alison Brown


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