Wednesday, 29 March 2017

‘It’s killing us’: Christchurch residents by quarry told to wear masks...

... due to health risk. 

This article from New Zealand won't bring any comfort to those living around Straitgate Farm.
Families living by an expanding Christchurch quarry have been told to wear masks on their own properties after health officials discovered the quarry's dust posed a serious long-term health risk.
After years of complaints, two recent independent tests showed the dust was not just a nuisance but a serious long-term health risk. It contains crystalline silica, which can cause lung cancer and silicosis, an irreversible disease, over a long period. It confirmed the residents' worst fears about the dust they had been breathing for years.
Dr Kelvin Duncan, an independent microbiologist and former dean of science at the University of Canterbury, said he was alarmed when he learned about the situation and now works with the residents pro-bono.
"This quarry would not exist anywhere else in New Zealand, let alone the world, that close to a major facility like a road and residences," he said.
The quarry, run by Winstone Aggregates, was given permission in 2015 to expand onto rural zoned land. It is now within 90 metres of one house and 150m from several others.
Christchurch's city plan has no requirement for setback distances from quarries, but the Ministry for the Environment's good practice guidelines recommend a setback distance of 500m from those containing crystalline silica.
Some countries, such as India and Pakistan, insist on a 1-kilometre minimum setback.
And Aggregate Industries' plans for Straitgate?
6.2 In order to minimise any potential impact from fugitive dust, the operator will ensure that there is a minimum stand-off distance of 100 metres between the boundary of mineral extraction and the nearest receptors.