Burning your waste endangers both the environment and your health

14.06.2021 | 19:26

Warm spring weather inspires people to start working on cleaning both their house and garden. This often results in such an amount of waste that the solution people often think of is to burn it in a fire. The Environmental Board wishes to remind people that domestic waste must not be burned and that garden waste must be disposed of properly.
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Warm spring weather inspires people to start working on cleaning both their house and garden. This often results in such an amount of waste that the solution people often think of is to burn it in a fire. The Environmental Board wishes to remind people that domestic waste must not be burned and that garden waste must be disposed of properly.

By leaving their garden waste in a forest, people unwittingly invite foreign species to enter our native environments, disturbing the natural balance by taking habitats away from native species, as well as endangering people’s health and property.

“When leaving your dead plants and leaves in forests, you run the risk of spreading seeds from a foreign species as well as eggs from Spanish slugs. Once released into forests, invasive species may start massively reproducing since forest floors aren’t as closely monitored for invasive plants and slugs as gardens.  In this way, they will spread back into gardens sooner or later. Illegally dumped piles of garden waste have started the spread of many different foreign species, such as hogweed, impatiens glandulifera, reynoutria and Spanish slugs,” said Eike Tammekänd, manager of the Environmental Board’s Nature Conservation Bureau.

Dead leaves and plants are suitable for compost, but must not be burned. Before burning your garden waste, read up on the laws that your local government has concerning waste removal. If making fires is permitted, do not burn domestic waste. It is only permitted to burn dry wood and branches, untreated wooden material, paper and filmless cardboard.

Burning domestic waste harms both your health and that of your neighbours. Contaminants created through the burning of domestic waste pollute not only air, but also the soil, garden produce and groundwater.

These contaminants are invisible to the eye and do not have an immediate effect on a person’s health. “By inhaling the smoke, contaminants spread along the organism and can cause serious illnesses. This smoke and the contaminants within do not only affect the person creating the fire, but also the people and other nature nearby that come into contact with the smoke, both by inhaling it and also, for example, eating the produce that has been contaminated. Because of this, it is important that only dry wood and branches, untreated wooden material, paper and filmless cardboard be burned. However recycling paper and cardboard is preferable to burning it,” says Helen Akenpärg, head specialist of the Environmental Board’s Bureao of Waste.

If you notice someone burning waste or preparing to do so, call the State helpline at 1247.

Many gardening associations gather mixed municipal waste. Rules state that summerhouses must also join into waste removal contracts. This contract can be suspended during the winter period when the summerhouse or garden plot is not in use. Contact your cooperative or your local government for more information.

The best method for getting rid of waste is handing it over to the appropriate waste management points. Paper and cardboard waste and plastic packages can be taken to public waste containers, and bottles with the appropriate markers can be deposited into bottle deposit machines. Old articles of furniture, construction and demolition waste as well as tyres can be given to waste plants. Many waste plants also accept garden and landscaping waste.

Webpage kuhuviia.ee will help you locate your closest waste plant, as well as answer any questions about waste disposal. Local options for waste disposal will also be listed in the waste disposal regulations or on the home page of your local government.
 

Andri Küüts

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