What Effect will a 64,000 Tonne Dose of Effluent Have?

The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the sighting of a pod of migrating humpback whales off Low Head, and called on the Bartlett Government to immediately refer the presence of whales in the effluent zone for Gunns’ proposed pulp mill to the Federal Government for assessment under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Greens Pulp Mill spokesperson Kim Booth MP said Gunns Limited are proposing to dump 64,000 tonnes of toxic pulp mill effluent off Low Head on a daily basis, and the arrival of migrating whales in this exact area makes it essential that the impact of the effluent on whales be assessed under the EPBC Act.

“After years of slaughter and decades away from our state, whales are now returning to Tasmanian waters in increasing numbers every year, and their presence must be included in the assessment of impacts from the 64,000 tonnes of poisonous effluent that Gunns are proposing to pump into the water off Low Head on a daily basis,” said Mr Booth.

“Just what will happen when these whales, including mothers and their calves, arrive at Low Head only to find they are swimming from seawater into a contaminated fresh water mix coming directly from Gunn’s pulp mill?”

“Mothers and their baby calves swimming into this toxic, polluted fresh waters must surely face a potentially serious threat to their health and safety, but what about the effects of whales eating dioxin-contaminated krill as they pass along our coastline?”

“To the best of my knowledge there are no freshwater whales in the world, so what will happen to those unfortunate enough to find that their traditional migratory path has been turned into a toxic freshwater mill effluent dumping ground? Can whales actually survive in toxic fresh water effluent?”

“It is not unfair to assume that 64,000 tonnes of poisonous effluent from Gunns’ proposed pulp mill will have some seriously negative effects on mothers and their baby calves swimming through the outfall.”

“The Bartlett Government and Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett must ensure that the presence of migrating Humpback whales in Gunns’ proposed effluent zone has been thoroughly assessed, and that the 64,000 tonnes of toxic effluent that Gunns’ are proposing to emit every day does not poison these majestic creatures,” said Mr Booth.
Kim Booth MP Greens Pulp Mill Spokesperson