The Press

Bad health blamed on plant

- Char­lie Gates Health · Medicine · Christchurch · Bromley

A Christchur­ch man be­lieves his wors­en­ing asthma, per­sis­tent lung in­fec­tions and hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion may have been caused by a nearby com­post pro­cess­ing plant.

Gor­don Fullard­moved to a house in Brom­ley, east Christchur­ch, about 600 me­tres away from the Liv­ing Earth com­post­ing plant about three years ago. He be­lieves his pre­ex­ist­ing asthma has got worse since the move.

He has also strug­gled with a se­ries of lung in­fec­tions since the move, in­clud­ing one that put him in hos­pi­tal for four days and was ini­tially sus­pected to be le­gion­naires’ dis­ease.

The site is run by Liv­ing Earth but owned by the Christchur­ch City Coun­cil. Coun­cil staff said there was no ev­i­dence the plant was caus­ing health prob­lems and pointed to a 2015 let­ter from the Can­ter­bury Dis­trict Health Board stat­ing there was no ev­i­dence of any ill­ness as­so­ci­ated with liv­ing in the Brom­ley area or any fa­cil­ity in the neigh­bour­hood.

Fullard, 65, said the plant should be re­built away from ur­ban ar­eas.

He said he was not cer­tain the com­post­ing plant was the di­rect cause of his wors­en­ing asthma and lung in­fec­tions but his health had de­te­ri­o­rated since mov­ing close to the fa­cil­ity.

‘‘... all I can say is pre­vi­ously I was never af­fected this badly with asthma. That is the first time I have been in hos­pi­tal for any­thing like that. The smell is bad enough but when it af­fects your health, it is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter.’’

Asthma and Res­pi­ra­tory Foun­da­tion med­i­cal direc­tor Stuart Jones said he did not know the specifics of the case but, the­o­ret­i­cally, a com­post­ing plant could make asthma worse for neigh­bour­ing res­i­dents.

Com­post pro­cess­ing could cre­ate high lev­els of as­pergillus fun­gal spores, which could make asthma worse, he said.

Chest physi­cian Adrian Har­ri­son be­lieved it was un­likely that fun­gal spores or bac­te­ria from the plant could cause lung in­fec­tions but strong smells could trig­ger asthma.

‘‘That does not sound to me like a lo­cally sourced in­fec­tion. That sounds like an in­cred­i­ble long shot,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know any sci­ence that would sup­port that.’’

 ??  ?? Com­post at the Liv­ing Earth plant is up­set­ting res­i­dents.
Com­post at the Liv­ing Earth plant is up­set­ting res­i­dents.

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