|MadSci Network: Environment|
Hello Dwayne - you are asking a controversial question because as with many things in science there are issues yet to be resolved. No doubt, incineration of CFC’s is technically difficult to do in such a way that it is guaranteed that dioxins and extremely corrosive acidic gases are not produced. Equally, though, any recycling operation needs to have guarantees that it is efficient - otherwise some CFC’s escape and ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere results. Both are bad consequences - and no doubt you have heard that recent measurements of the "ozone hole" over Antarctica is now bigger than the USA, and is showing no signs of getting smaller. I am not an expert in the extremely complex subject of incineration, so am not qualified to give you a definitive answer to your question. However a few searches on the subject convince me that even the experts couldn’t do that. The answer is probably that in some cases, where an extremely well controlled incineration plant can reliably do the job - incineration is the best option. In others - where the incineration facility is less reliable - maybe not - and recycling is a better option. Clearly recycling really only puts off the problem of ultimate disposal, and if not totally without loss may encourage use of new CFC material to make up the difference. Maybe a better policy is to ban use altogether and stockpile material until a reliable source of safe disposal is developed and available. Here’s a couple of web sites you may want to visit to read more comment, and to understand some of the political issues on which your question touches. http://www.house.gov/reform/neg/speeches/DMM-NPC.htm http://www.junkscience .com/news3/ibepapol.htm Thanks for a great question - it is not only an issue for science and scientists, but is an issue that can only be correctly solved by good science combined with good policy. The whole of environmental regulation tends to be like this - and some of it is a done well, and some is a little lacking in objectivity.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Environment .