5 Oct 2016

Cooks plans crack down on rubbish burning

8:36 pm on 5 October 2016

Authorities in the Cook Islands are promising to penalise repeat offenders who burn toxic rubbish.

A main street in Rarotonga

A main street in Rarotonga Photo: RNZI / Mary Baines

It is against the Public Health Act to burn plastic rubbish and rubber tyres.

Public health protection manager Tangata Vaeau said the extent of burning these materials had reached alarming levels.

Exposure to the fumes produced by burning toxic materials increases the risk of heart disease, aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema and causes rashes, nausea and headaches.

It can also cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys or liver, and affect the reproductive and development system.

The Cook Islands News quoted Mr Vaeau as saying in most cases fines were not imposed but Public Health staff advised people to quit burning the material.

He said if the same people were caught repeating the offence, Public Health would take them to court.

People found breaching the Act can be fined up to $US720, while companies or organisations who flout the law can be fined $US7200.

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