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Irish Examiner - 17/04/2005 - 3:23:36 PM
Campaigners call for action on rubbish mountain

Environmental campaigners claimed today that local authorities had adopted half-hearted measures to reduce Ireland’s rubbish mountain.

With every household in Ireland producing one tonne of rubbish per year, Friends of the Earth said councils were running public recycling sites on a part-time basis.

Oisín Coughlan, Friends of the Earth director, said bring centres were being closed for half-days, barring families from adopting a greener way of life.

“Some of these bring centres are closing for half-days – that is not practical,” he said.

“Ireland lives very wastefully. Per person, Ireland is the fifth most climate-polluting country in the world. If everybody else lived as wastefully as us, we would need five planet Earths to survive.”

A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council confirmed a number of bring centres in the city closed at lunchtime every Friday while others only remained open until 4pm the rest of the week.

To mark the group’s Earth Day this Friday, Mr Coughlan called for authorities to take the lead in shifting attitudes to dumping.

He said practicality was the key if the Government and businesses were truly committed to cut the four million tonnes of rubbish being sent to landfill sites each year.

With only 6% of Ireland’s waste currently being recycled, Mr Coughlan said the alternative to dumping had to be made easy.

“We believe in the principle that the polluter should pay and that applies as much to big companies as to individuals,” he said.

“But if we are going to be made to pay for waste, for throwaway waste, the alternative has to be made practical.”

A new round of talks are looming on the sustainable progress agreement and Mr Coughlan called for the environment to be put at the heart of public policy.

He attacked the Government for reneging on commitments to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

As part of the launch of Friends of the Earth Ireland, the group will hold an Earth Day this Friday to raise awareness of environmental issues and offer solutions for individuals to cut waste.

Mr Coughlan pointed to a recent United Nations report compiled by 1,300 scientists from about 60 countries, which noted that man had depleted two-thirds of the world’s eco-system reserves.

The UN Millennium Eco-system Assessment claimed man had done more damage to the earth over the last five decades than ever before in recorded history.

Mr Coughlan called on the Government to drop plans to use incineration as the number one method in battling Ireland’s growing waste crisis.

He claimed incineration would act as a spur to produce more rubbish.

“The companies who operate incinerators need a certain level of waste to run efficiently,” he said.

“That is an incentive to increase waste and produce more rubbish – that’s how the policy is backward.”

Friends of the Earth and sustainable living campaigners are to hold a special three-day festival in Dublin’s Temple Bar at the end of this week as part of a drive to encourage greener ways of life.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
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