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Small inexpensive PM2.5 device developed in Japan

Scientists develop inexpensive mini PM 2.5 measuring gadget

August 06, 2015


Researchers at Nagoya University have teamed with Panasonic Corp. to develop a small low-cost device that can detect and measure levels of PM 2.5 fine particulate pollutants, which have been a scourge in the skies over China and Japan in recent years.

Unveiled Aug. 5, the device will cost several thousands of yen (tens of dollars) to produce. Panasonic plans to install the device on air cleaners to go on sale in September.

The device was developed by a team led by Yutaka Matsumi, a professor of environmental studies at the university’s Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory.

"We will be able to detect and measure pollutants by installing the device in various locations in a city," Matsumi said. "We hope the devices will reveal the everyday things that are acting as a source of pollution and help people deal with the health effects."

Why We Oppose Incineration


Garbage disposal by incineration is just a landfill in the sky. Everything in your garbage including all the toxic items like batteries (mercury, cadmium, lead), chemical cleaners, paints etc. will end up in the ash (approx 30%) or the stack emissions (approx 70%) where the wind will spread it over the entire landscape.

Incineration does not destroy waste - it simply changes its form into something which will allow it to spread almost invisibly over hundreds, perhaps thousands, of square miles.

In addition, burning facilitates chemical reactions which will turn otherwise innocuous substance like plastics and rubber into dioxins and furans, some of the most toxic substances known - there is no safe level.

For a full inventory of the expected emissions from this facility click here.

These emissions will be spread over schoolyards, farms, lakes and rivers where they will be absorbed into the entire food chain.

Air pollution is the principal cause of asthma and a leading contributor to heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Even without the incinerator, Durham Region already has some of the highest levels of asthma in the province - Courtice has one of the most polluted airsheds in Ontario. (St. Mary's Cement is the main culprit at the moment.)

High temperature combustion also produces fine particulate matter, PM2.5, (smaller than 2.5 microns) which is becoming a major health concern. This is a major contributor to smog. PM2.5 also includes ultrafine particles referred to as nanoparticles. Until fairly recently these were unmeasurable but new research is finding connections to a wide range of serious illness.




Durham Region is building a garbage incinerator in the S end of Courtice near Lake Ontario. DurhamCLEAR has been actively fighting this plan since our inception along with other groups. We created a separate campaign website which has recently been archived to


For a blow by blow documentary record of our battle against the incinerator, Kerry Meydam has an excellent website of document links at

Click the logo below

Durham Environment

DC ends its legal action

With considerable regret DurhamCLEAR is ending its legal action against the garbage incinerator in Courtice. The hearing which had been scheduled for July 17 will not take place.

While we were fairly confident we could win the appeal on security of costs and move on, the legal process was dragging on so slowly that the incinerator would be built before we ever got a decision on the main motion. Although judges are supposed to be immune to such arguments, it was a growing concern whether a judge would turn back a $300 million project which was substantially completed.

The other issue weighing us down was money. Our dinner/dance fundraiser last month at the Rickard complex raised several thousand dollars - but not enough to cover outstanding legal bills.

Money is really tight in the current economic environment, and with the incinerator under construction, it is getting increasingly difficult to motivate people to dig into their pockets.

Why the incinerator is doomed to be an albatross

A chart was released by the Works Department at the March Waste Management Advisory Committee (WMAC) meeting which revealed that waste volumes have actually been declining for the last 5+ years and that the Region is already de-emphasizing recycling in order to ensure that there will be sufficient waste to run the incinerator when it fires up in 2014.

Total waste per capita has dropped 14% in 5 years. 

  • 2006 408 Kg
  • 2011 353 Kg

Here is a graph derived from the Region's numbers compared with the numbers in the Deloitte Business Plan prepared for Council in 2008. This business plan (like all business plans) was intended to show Council that the incinerator made good economic sense.

However 4 years later it is clear from the graph that their projections were way off and the rosy predictions of 70% diversion by 2022 were but a pipe dream.

Diversion in 2011 was only 53% while the Deloitte Business Plan projected 60% for last year. The Golder report commissioned by Durham Council in 2009 mapped out in detail with costing how Durham could have achieved 63.7% lasat year.

While it is difficult to draw long term conclusions from 5 years of numbers (2006-11), if you draw a line forward from the real (blue) points to 2022, you find a waste gap of about 150,000 tonnes.

The problem is that the Region has signed a contract to supply a minimum of 100,000 tonnes to the incinerator.

Because Durham has limited itself to only 2 waste options (recycle/compost and burn), if total waste is dropping then a larger and larger percentage will end up in the incinerator and less in the recycle stream. This is exactly opposite to the commitments made during the EA that the incinerator would 'drive' recycling and 'never' cut into it.

We didn't believe them then and we don't believe them now.

Incinerator School - March 23, 2011

When a motion was passed at Regional Council that councillors should have an "educational session" to bring them up to steam on all the complexities of the Courtice garbage incinerator, DurhamCLEAR president Doug Anderson requested at a joint committee meeting that that session be opened up to representatives of DurhamCLEAR and ZeroWaste 4 ZeroBurning so that they could present the contrary view concerning the incinerator. No invitation was received.

To ensure that councillors had access to both sides of the story. DurhamCLEAR decided to hold its own educational session and invite all the councillors as well as regional staff and consultants and representatives of Covanta.

Councillor Shawn Collier arranged that we could use the River Plate Room in Ajax Town Hall and the "Incinerator School" was held on the afternoon of March 23.

Seven regional councillors attended - Shawn Collier from Ajax, Peter Rodrigues and Jennifer O'Connell from Pickering, and Nancy Diamond, John Henry, John Neal and Bob Chapman from Oshawa. In addition, local councillors Joe Neal, Corrinna Traill and Ron Hooper attended from Clarington along with Pat Brown from Ajax and Bruce Wood from Oshawa.

Several other individuals were in attendance but no representatives of the Region, the consultants or Covanta.

The following presentations were made. You can download and/or view the powerpoints by clicking on the titles:

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