One of the things I like about my job is that I am learning a whole lot of new things. I thought I’d share a couple of these learnings with you today.
I’ve always considered myself a reasonably environmentally aware individual. Yet this week, I learned that cement, lime and concrete are toxic to fish and aquatic creatures. The document I was looking at displayed pictures of a large quantity of fish that had died after building waste was washed into a water source. I felt horrified and so sad.
Flashbacks of cement run-off going down into drains ran through my mind – how many times have we walked past a construction site and seen that happening? It’s illegal. But it happens. In New Zealand, if the culprits are caught, the penalties don’t really seem high enough. In the case of the example I saw, the company in question (not where I work) was only fined about $2,000, and the employees $300 each for allowing the leak to happen.
Another thing I learned not long ago is that the reason food waste should not be put into the landfill is that as it decomposes, the liquid generated mixes with toxic substances in the landfill to create leachate, which then can leak into water sources and the environment, with obvious consequences. I wondered how many people actually know why food waste should not be put into the bin? I had always thought “It decomposes, it’s ok.”
So why aren’t all councils providing composting as a regular component of waste disposal services? After all, we don’t all have a garden or space to do our own composting.
I think that most of us do try to do the right thing, within the limits of our knowledge. I just sometimes do wonder … how much don’t we know?