Toxic Gas Release



One of the largest cherry and citrus exporters in the Murrumbidgee has installed ground-breaking Australian technology, to prevent the release of toxic fumigation gases to atmosphere. The company is Cherry King, located at Hanwood near Griffith in south-west N.S.W.

Cherry King, like most other firms involved in international and interstate trade, has to have their produce fumigated with methyl bromide gas. Fumigation is a requirement of governments around the world, to meet strict quarantine regulations, and protect agricultural industries from pests and diseases. Whilst methyl bromide is dangerous, it is effective, especially on fresh produce and can be handled with safety by experienced fumigators.

At present, hundreds of tonnes of this gas are still being used, and released to atmosphere around Australia at ports and other locations often close to population centres. This gas has been identified as an Ozone Depleting Substance, registered under the Montreal Protocol (an international agreement signed by Australia and over 100 other nations) for phase-out over coming years – but satisfactory alternatives have in many cases not yet been found.

Nordiko Quarantine Systems is an Australian technology supplier, that has perfected an environmentally friendly solution to this problem. Their system captures the gas (listed as a suspected carcinogen) at the end of fumigation, inside a sealed filter, which is treated and washed, converting the gas to harmless by-products.

Cherry King is leading the industry in its adoption of this technology in its fumigations. Others are expected to follow as regulations become more stringent in coming months and years.

“The installation of the Nordiko system sets a ‘best practice’ benchmark which we believe should be matched by all involved in the business of having their products fumigated . For too long, Australians have been exposed to unacceptable risks in the workplace and local communities. It is highly likely that Australia’s high skin cancer rate is related to our free release of this gas into the atmosphere, and ultimately the destruction of the ozone layer. This must change.”

Source: Ken Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Nordiko Quarantine Systems Pty Ltd

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