January 18, 2011
(Halifax, NS) Liberal Environment critic Andrew Younger says mercury is entering Nova Scotia landfills daily from the disposal of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and there is no plan to deal with the increase when incandescent bulbs are phased out at the end of this year.
"Right now CFLs are being put right into our landfills," said Younger. "Many landfills will not accept more than 30 bulbs at a time, but with the popularity of the bulbs we know more and more mercury is entering our landfills and the problem is only going to get worse."
Provinces such as Alberta and Ontario have implemented programs to recycle light bulbs of all kinds, creating jobs, reducing waste, and protecting waste water. In Nova Scotia light bulbs can be simply tossed into landfills, both from residential and commercial properties. This means mercury, which does not degrade in the environment, accumulates overtime and may leach into the surrounding groundwater.
"We have Nova Scotia entrepreneurs who are currently sending bulbs out of province, exporting the economic potential and the recycling jobs," said Younger. "They are able to take not only fluorescent bulbs, but mercury vapour, halogen, LED, and other bulbs as well and get them recycled. There is a proven willingness from the private sector to move on this but they are left waiting by a government without a plan."
Younger says reducing power costs for residential and commercial property is excellent and a good approach to energy conservation but little has been done to address the issue of disposal.
"It's time for the NDP government and the Environment Minister to stop dilly dallying and tell Nova Scotians his plan for disposal of these products."