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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 5 January 2007
Dioxin in Sydney Harbour is much bigger than a quick and dirty $40M fix?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: ecology

Talk of fixing the dioxin problem in Sydney Harbour surfaced again on ABC 702 radio this morning, and here:

 Toxic harbour to cost $40m - NEWS.com.au - 10 hours ago

Opposition Leader Debnam mentioned his clean up policy. This echoes a smaller $20M policy from memory of ex Premier Bob Carr trailed around for nearly a decade, as limited and ineffective as he was for the 5 years leading up to and since the so called Green Olympics in 2000 sited at Homebush Bay which Greenpeace in the end only gave 'a bronze medal' for greenology.

[Indeed both the ALP and Coalition Parties in NSW seem to be engaging in early skirmishs prior to the election in late March 2007 to establish their moral credentials on more general concerns of the environment as above,  and similarly the big Githubal Aboriginal Land Use deal with our Indigenous on the front page The Australian (News Ltd) 2nd January:

Deal struck on native Eden - Githabul win rights to national parks Graham Lloyd (subscriber material),

That is until the really big electoral policies of economy, health, education, transport etc are rolled out.]

An extensive track of the mainstream reporting of the dioxin issue is contained here on the SAM editor's ecology action home page:

"Sydney’s dioxin time bomb reflects an Olympic sized missed opportunity":
Sydney Harbour dioxin -  

The traverse of media coverage of the 10 years and longer embarrassing history of the dioxin issue was posted researched early in 2006 and posted by this writer becaue the NSW govt had to close fishing in Sydney Harbour in early 2006 because of real injury to professional fishers:

Sydney Harbour and fishing – overview and facts about dioxins


especially this media release:

"Media Release 24 January 2006 – Temporary closure of commercial fishing in Sydney Harbour (partly superceded)"

also reported here by insightful reporter Jonathan Harley at the time http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2006/s1555375.htm

Sometime just prior to Christmas 2006 the abc tv nightly news helpfully reported for the state government fishing on the ocean eastern side of the Bridge was officially okay again to some degree: More here  http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/sydney-harbour-closure

and especially here:

Media release 9 Dec 06 - New Dietary Advice for Anglers is Catch of the Day

based on early study of results of fish species caught on that side.

But the problem in Homebush waters and land was always west of the Bridge anyway. The area doesn't make this horror list of the world's worst pollution hotspots:

World's 10 Worst Pollution Spots http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2006/2006-10-18-02.asp

But don't be misled. Most of the dioxin is still there capped with clean fill on the land side, and still in the mud on the water side at risk of disturbance from say passing River Cats (the wash is known to damage river banks) or bad weather. Even a chunky $40 million, better than Carr's $20M promise, using limited technology will only put a dent in the century of industrial legacy. The resolution will probably cost hundreds of millions of dollars and no one is promising that.

So the dioxin in Sydney Harbour and the fish probably isn't going away in our lifetime.

Posted by editor at 9:38 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007 7:32 PM EADT

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