Sunday, December 5, 2010

Halifax poop controversy stirs emotions of politicians and Ellen Page

Halifax poop controversy stirs emotions of politicians and Ellen Page - Winnipeg Free Press

Now, I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I can reason out the pros and cons of a debate, so for this debate, here it goes:

Pro (emphasis mine):

Rob Sampson, president of N-Viro, the company taking the sludge from the city's sewage treatment plants and processing it into usable compost, said he wishes people would tone down the rhetoric and examine the facts.

"You've got to consider that this isn't coming right out of the toilet and into the field. It's being treated at the sewage plant and our plant," he said of their operation in an industrial park near the Halifax airport.

The company uses alkaline waste products from coal-fired power plants and the cement and lime industries to stabilize organic waste through pasteurization and disinfection.

"We need to make decisions based on science and not hysteria," said Sampson, referring to the local buzz Page generated when she visited a site where city crews had applied biosolids this past summer.

"It's probably the most regulated and the most watched land application of any material including commercial fertilizer."

Sampson said even some of the more complex materials that may get into the sewage deteriorate over time and don't get into the plants.

He argued that N-Viro's process creates a product that is safe because it must follow stricter regulations than animal manure.

and the Con (again, emphasis mine):
Page, a Halifax native and environmental activist, came under some criticism after she came out strongly against the use of biosolids.

"I'm always getting that, 'Oh, look at the young actress. She's not a scientist, blah, blah, blah!'" Page said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

"Of course I'm not a scientist but I'm allowed to have common sense and care about the planet," she said, adding that Halifax is still her primary residence.

Page, who was nominated for an Oscar Award, says she has no desire to create drama or make anyone look bad but she does have concerns about sewage sludge — even after it is treated.

"It's taking all the waste of our current society with its sickness and toxicity. That's what they're treating in a very short amount of time and what they are saying is safe and, quite frankly, I don't believe it."

See the problem with Ms. Page's argument, other than the fact that she's not a scientist, is that it doesn't matter how long they take to treat the solid waste, she won't believe that it's safe. Period. She won't listen to governmental regulators (whom I assume she wants to ensure that the process is safe), she won`t listen to those people that know what they are talking about. That`s it. She knows, and she won`t change her mind that it could be made safe.

Now, I too can be accused of the same thing at times, but I usually listen to the scientists and investigate the evidence before I start spouting off. What this comes down to is that the city of Halifax, like so many other cities in Canada, is returning to the same model as served our pioneering fore-bearers who gladly took the contents of their outhouses and returned the nutrients to the land in order to help with the next year's crops. In this case, it's being done with 150 extra years of science and stricter regulations to waylay Ms. Page's concerns.

"What do they want in the end? Do they want us to go back and let it run into the harbour? There's only so many options, unless people stop going to the washroom," he said.
I suggest Ms. Page follow his Mr. Streatch's advice and stop excreting until such a time as her waste can be disposed of safely.

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