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Irish Examiner - 28/12/04
Waste policy needs public trust

THE Health Research Bureau (HRB) has reported that in order to “facilitate public debate on the issues of waste management policy and effects, a systematic programme of risk communication will be necessary.

This should concentrate on providing unbiased and trusted information to all participants (or stakeholders) in waste management issues. Public trust, whether it is placed in the regulators in compliance with the regulations or in the information provided, will be fundamental in achieving even a modicum of consensus for any future developments in waste”.

The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, has totally misrepresented what his own advisers, the HRB, have said in an effort to support an unsafe and outmoded technology - incineration.

The report adds: “Ireland presently has insufficient resources to carry out adequate risk assessments from management facilities... and routine monitoring of the health of people living near waste sites.”

The report deals with the health risks, respiratory illnesses, kidney and liver damage and cancer from “management facilities” and “waste sites” - ie, incinerators and landfill, not backyard burning.

If we do so much backyard burning and all the dioxins come from this - as Mr Roche has suggested - then surely we should have the highest levels of toxins in Europe?

However, Ireland has the lowest dioxin levels, while Denmark and Belgium have the highest in the northern hemisphere. They also have a proliferation of incinerators.

If there is to be honest debate, it should be about all the safer, cleaner technologies now in operation worldwide. We need not blindly follow our European neighbours and make their mistakes. Ireland has led the way with the smoking and plastic bags ban.

What would be so bad about leading the way in waste management?

Mary FitzGerald
3 Cú Chulainn Place
Co Cork


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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