SP calls for ban on export of asphalt containing tar

9 December 2009

SP calls for ban on export of asphalt containing tar

SP Member of Parliament Remi Poppe is demanding that Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer take immediate action to put a stop to the export of asphalt which contains tar. Millions of tons of carcinogenic asphalt have been exported to eastern Europe during the last eighteen months, despite a provision in Dutch law making decontamination of this poisonous asphalt compulsory. The SP discovered the abuse following a tip-off to the party's own 'Environmental Alarm Team'.

Remi Poppe"This asphalt presents a danger to public health," says Poppe, "and above all for people who have to work with it. So you can't allow people in other countries to be exposed to it as a result of the pursuit of profit. Especially when we don't want it in our own country."

As a result of European Union regulations, waste processors are at the moment exporting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of this poisonous asphalt to eastern Europe. This works out much cheaper than would be the case if they were to satisfy Dutch law, which requires thermic decontamination. The processing firms earn a great deal of money in this way, as they are paid generous rates by the authorities to clean the asphalt according to the rules in the Netherlands. As Poppe points out, "this is taxpayers' money that is being misdirected into the pockets of waste processors."

The discovery represents another success for the SP's Environmental Alarm Team, which enables people to report possible abuses. A team of three Members of Parliament, including veteran environmental campaigner Remi Poppe, aided by two experts, then help investigate and tackle the problems.

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