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Irish Times - 18-02-05
'Outdated' technology at incinerator feared

Indaver Ireland plans to use outdated technology and a disposal method which is no longer best practice in other countries, an EPA oral hearing on the proposed incinerator for Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, was told yesterday.

Ms Joan Masson of Carrigaline Area for a Safe Environment (CASE) said highly effective alternatives to incineration were in place in other countries for processes such as the disposal of meat and bonemeal.

Ms Masson claimed alkaline hydrolysis was the preferred method of disposal by veterinary colleges in the UK and the US.

"The EU Scientific Steering Committee actually conducted a study of this means of disposal. The report was finalised last November 2003 with a seal of approval. Incineration, by contrast, has never been scientifically validated as a disposal method," she said.

She also suggested that Ireland look at other processes such as liquefaction for plastics in order to find solutions to waste disposal problems.

Japan is engaged in liquefaction of plastics back to their original petrochemical state. Treatable plastics include polypropylene, polystyrene and polyethylene. Exceptions are PVC or plastics with a high specific gravity.

Ms Masson argued that liquefaction had the advantage over incineration of being commercially viable at lower quantities. These systems could be put together on a modular basis, which meant they could be built for current demand, and added to later if demand increased.

A comprehensive solution to hazardous waste problems must include demands on industry and Government and the regulatory authorities for waste reduction and clean production, she said.

A Green Party councillor, Mr Dominick Donnelly, of Passage West Town Council, expressed concern that the incinerator could prove to be a substantial threat to the health of people living in the community.

He said he was disappointed that Indaver, the company behind the incinerator, managed to have a breakfast meeting with the Taoiseach while members of the anti-incinerator group, Chase, had been unable to get the attention of any of the Government Ministers.

"Chase is a collection of community-based groups in the harbour area who collected over 30,000 signatures against these proposed incinerators, and yet that doesn't seem to matter a damn to our political mandarins. Who really rules our country? Is it the people whose names are on the ballot paper, or are they just puppets for those with money and influence?" Mr Donnelly said.

Some 14 groups and individual opponents have lodged objections against the Ringaskiddy plan.

If it goes ahead the plant will cater for non-hazardous and hazardous materials including specified risk material from the rendering of animals, which is deemed non-hazardous, as well as infectious healthcare waste and asbestos.

Barry Roche & Olivia Kelleher
© The Irish Times


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