my name is Federico Pistono, I'm a scientist and Graduate Studies Program student of Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Park, Silicon Valley.
I was very intrigued and inspired by Bjarke Ingels' TED talk about Hedonistic Sustainability in Copenhagen. It all looked wonderful and beautiful. I have been to Copenhagen many times, I was a reporter for the European Journalism Center for the COP15, and I loved the city.
However, there was one thing that deeply disturbed me towards the end. The so called "waste to energy facility", is in fact, as I understand, an incinerator. I don't know exactly what kind of disposal systems for the ashes are you planning, and what kind of nanofilters or membranes you intend to implement, but I have worked for many years with some researchers, experts in nanopatologies, and I can assure you that this is no laughing matter.
There is massive amount of research that suggests that incinerators are unsustainable, and very hazardous for our health. That applies also, and particularly, to the newest generations of incinerators.
Please find the time to review this material, and reconsider your decision.
- Nanopathology: the health impact of nanoparticles
- Sarcoma risk and dioxin emissions from incinerators and industrial plants: a population-based case-control study (Italy)
- Statement from Dr. Paul Connett, graduate of Cambridge University and Ph.D. in chemistry from Dartmouth College
- The Health Effects of Fine, Ultrafine and Nanoscale Particulate Emissions from Incinerators
There are many sustainable alternatives to incineration for waste recovery, which can reach 99.8% of recycling and costs much less than incinerators. They are also completely sustainable and non-hazardous. I will be happy to go over the details with you.
As for the problem of house heating, it is my understanding that the the city depends on incineration to provide its citizens all the necessary heat for the winter time. Again, there are much cleaner and safer alternatives, which we can explore together.
I urge you to stop and think about what you are about to do. You have amazing projects and ideas, you are creating the most beautiful city in the world, but just one mistake can cost you many lives for generations to come.
Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Park, Silicon Valley
"The story of Stuff" explains very simply the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It becomes very clear that one of the reasons we are in crisis is that we try to operate on a linear system of cyclical consumption, but we live on a finite planet. You can not run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.
In today's world, there is the requirement of perpetual or cyclical consumption in order to keep the entire economy going. If consumption was ever to stop, the whole system would collapse. Products are often made of cheap materials and poor design, for not only are resources being neglectfully used in products that are designed not to last, wasting human energy and materials, but the amount of frivolous waste and pollution that results is staggering. Waste is a deliberate byproduct of industry's need to keep 'cyclical consumption' going1.
The idea of consuming as much as possible, and then simply dumping everything in a landfill is plain ridiculous for anyone having the slightest knowledge of the law of conservation of mass/matter by the father of modern chemistry, Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, and the idea of burning useful materials is even more dishonest and frightening.
Doctor Stefano Monatari,
In the last article's we've seen a short video presenting the problems of a typical incineration facility, in which I depicted the problems in a broad view. Today we'll dig deeper and discover the health problems caused by waste incineration. With an exclusive interview, Doctor Stafano Montanari elucidates the current situation, the state of the art in technology and a possible vision for the future.
Stefano Monatanari is the scientific director of Nanodiagnostics, a research lab based in Modena, operating in the medical, industrial and ecological fields. Its main activity is the survey, through an innovative technique of environmental electron-microscopy, of inorganic micro- and nano- particles in any medium (biological tissues, food, drugs, cosmetic products, environmental samples, et cetera). He and his wife, Antonietta Gatti, are leading researchers in the field of nanopathologies. He's author of several articles and scientific publications, most notably "Nanopathology: the health impact of nanoparticles"(Antonietta M. Gatti, Stefano Montanari, Pan Stanford Publishing, 2008), as well as general audience books, and inventor of various medical equipments.
Without further ado, I leave you with the interview.
Two years ago a made a short video about the incinetaror in the province of Verona with the voluntary group "Amici di Beppe Grillo di Verona". It was the first video I ever made, so don't expect great editing, but it came from a passionate group of people trying to get a point across: don't burn our future, think about your health, first.
The video has no voiceovers, everything is written in Italian, and since I could not find the original Final Cut project, I uploaded the English substitles to YouTube (you can enable them on the bottom right corner of the video). Vimeo does not support closed captioning, so I'll post the video trascription instead.