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Irish Times - 19-02-05
Waste plant would cause birth defects, hearing told

The east Cork region will see increased levels of miscarriages and birth defects in the local community if an incinerator planned for Ringaskiddy is given the go-ahead, an EPA hearing was told yesterday. Dr Gavin ten Tusscher of the Emma Children's Hospital Medical Centre in the Netherlands claimed the proposed Ringaskiddy site does not comply with rules set down by the World Health Organisation for the placing of incinerator sites.

"There is too little distance from a captive population, too few access roads, and emergency vehicles cannot reach the site within the designated timespan. There are numerous incinerators throughout Europe capable of handing Ireland's waste. These sites are already polluted. Why damage Ireland and her inhabitants when this is not necessary?"

Some 16 groups and individuals are objecting to a draft licence issued to Indaver Ireland to locate a €93 million toxic waste incineration facility in Ringaskiddy.

Dr ten Tusscher said it was important for people to realise that childhood cancer/leukaemia births were associated with high atmospheric emissions from combustion processes.

He argued that children were already being exposed to high dioxin concentration levels without increasing them any further, adding it was short-sighted of Ireland to take on the incineration process at this juncture.

However, Brendan Slattery of Indaver rejected Dr ten Tusscher's claims, saying the incinerator would not produce hazardous levels of dioxins.

Meanwhile, an environmental consultant employed by Indaver to conduct an appraisal of the air quality and climatic impacts associated with the facility told the hearing the impact of emissions would not be significant.

Dr Edward Porter of AWN Consulting said the operation would fulfil its obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

"The facility will achieve and promote the objectives of the convention in terms of recovery, recycling, waste separation, release reduction and process modification. Best available technology has been employed in line with the Stockholm convention and council directive."

He stressed Indaver Ireland was committed, as a minimum, to meeting all the requirements of the council directive, adding the Cork facility was expected to significantly outperform the stringent limit values imposed by the council directive.

Community groups continued to express their frustration at the absence of the EPA from an oral hearing, with Kinsale Environment Watch (KEW) describing the situation as "extraordinary".

Mr Andrew Dillon of KEW applied for an adjournment of proceedings pending an application to the High Court. He said the Government was too lazy and incompetent to introduce a proper waste disposal policy.

The chairman of the EPA oral hearing, Dr Jonathan Derham, yesterday declined to adjourn proceedings but said Mr Dillon's comments would be placed on the record.

Earlier this week, Mr Alan Navratil of East Cork for a Safe Environment accused the Government of being "infatuated with incineration".

Olivia Kelleher
© The Irish Times


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