New Zealand must end its addiction to the highly toxic ozone destroying gas methyl bromide, the Green Party said today.
“We need to stop using this dangerous product and exposing our people, and the planet, to this toxic gas,” said Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley.
Methyl Bromide is currently used to treat imported food and wood products as well as cars and timber that is being exported.
Ms Kedgley has lodged a submission on Environmental Risk Management Authority’s (ERMA) reassessment of Methyl Bromide today. Submissions close today, Friday 26 February.
Ms Kedgley’s submission urges a phase out of methyl bromide over the next five years and the use of alternatives such as recapture technology and heat treatment instead.
Everyday, by using it, we are destroying the ozone layer.
“Furthermore, hundreds of workers are being exposed to this highly toxic gas – it is completely irresponsible.”
Ms Kedgley expressed concern that New Zealand wasn’t living up to its international obligations under the Montréal Protocol.
“New Zealand is now using more Methyl Bromide than ever.
“We need to stop the weasely excuses now,” said Ms Kedgley.
“ERMA should support a complete phase out of the gas, and not merely tinker with some minor controls.
“Timber is treated in a primitive way, under tarpaulins, and then the gas is released directly into the atmosphere where it will inevitably destroy ozone. Usually logs are fumigated in such a way that puts members of the public at risk of inhalation.”
“There are many safer alternatives, such as recapture technology and heat treating, which should be being used instead,” said Ms Kedgley.