Community says no to proposed Lara waste incinerator

September 16, 2023

No big incinerator in Lara. Photo: Matt Hrkac

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Dozens of community members, angered over a proposed waste incinerator on their doorstep, have taken a stand against the proposal.

The facility, proposed by Prospect Hill International, would be built at McManus Rd, Lara, located in Geelong’s northern suburbs. It would incinerate 400,000 tonnes of waste each year.

Community members are strongly opposed to the proposed incinerator, citing concerns over both health impacts  and air pollution.

The proposed incinerator slated to be built amongst some of the most disadvantaged areas in Victoria was also noted – with one of the speakers stating that such a proposal ‘would never see the light of day’ in wealthy suburbs while the poor ‘become the state’s dumping ground’.

According to Environmental Justice Victoria, “the applicant proposes to incinerate mixed commercial, industrial and municipal waste, including organics, metals, and plastics.”

“The facility will produce pollutants such as Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) and 2.5 (PM2.5), Ozone, Ammonia, Hydrogen Chloride, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. It will also produce metals and semi-metals such as Hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury. For several of these chemicals, there is no safe exposure limit.”

Members of the community rally in opposition to a proposed waste to energy incinerator in Lara, Victoria. Photo: Matt Hrkac

Members of the community rally in opposition to a proposed waste to energy incinerator in Lara, Victoria. Photo: Matt Hrkac

“About 20 per cent of the waste will remain as toxic ash that will need to be received by landfill if there is no market for it, such as in a road base construction.”

“Data prepared by the Centre for Air Pollution, Energy and Health Research shows that Lara’s average annual fine particle pollution level (PM2.5) per cubic metre of air sits around 7.9-8 while the World Health Organisation’s safe level recommendation is 5.”

“Census data collected in 2021 mapped to the City of Greater Geelong shows several areas surrounding the Prospect Hill proposal have an asthma rate of 9-13% of the population.”

A petition is being supported by Greens member of the Legislative Council Sarah Mansfield, who represents the Western Victoria region. An e-petition is also available to sign.

Matt Hrkac

Matt Hrkac is a photographer and photojournalist based in Geelong and works across Melbourne and throughout Victoria.


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