Bibliothekia ties very hard to stay out of politics, but the news item in today's Australian Newspaper IT section titled Garrett rules out electronic waste tax has left me with little choice. After all, it was only yesterday that I posted two articles How Green is your Library and E-Waste.
So what am I so heated up about? Well to quote the Australian:
"Australians generate up to 140,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, only 4 per cent is presently recycled. There is a new e-waste plant built by by Sims Recycling Solutions in Sydney that was opened by Australian Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett... [This plant] has the capacity to divert 20,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year... and turn the hazardous tangle of broken equipment into new materials for future products."
So far so good.
But despite "Sims officials delivering a clear message that Australia needs to introduce laws for mandatory e-waste recycling as a matter of priority" Peter Garrett has backed away.
Is Peter for real? Here is a man who fronted the band Midnight Oil, who sang songs protesting against uranium and asbestos mining, and who was the president of the Australian Conservation Foundation (1989-1993, 1998-2004), but who now pussy foots around the issue of toxic E-waste. Mind you this is also the man who has:
* supported the Gunns company's plan to build the Bell Bay Pulp Mill in the environmentally sensitive Tamar Valley in Tasmania,
* approved a controversial plan to dredge Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay,
* approved a major expansion of South Australia's Beverley uranium mine, and
* introduced means testing on the government rebate on solar panels which has had the effect of gutted the solar industry in Australia. The largest local producer of solar panels (BP Solar) has been forced to take its production off shore.
Well thank God Peter Garrett is an environmentalist, because who knows what environmental degradation he would cause as Federal Environment Minister if he was anti the environment.