Drogheda Independent - 16-12-05
A STUDY into the health effects of the proposed incinerator at Duleek is vital, a senior scientist working in public health said this week.
Dr Anthony Staines, an expert in epidemiology from UCD said such studies were required in Europe and essential here. He claims the health impact assessments done so far on proposed plant are ‘wholly inadequate.’
Local TD for East Meath Shane McEntee said the fact that proper studies haven’t been done proves ‘the Government couldn’t care less about the people of East Meath.’
Dr Anthony Staines, an expert in the causes of disease and the sustaining of health in humans, said the environmental impact statement for the Carrenstown project ‘was not remotely adequate.’
‘There is very little about the health effects on humans and what there is, is very superficial. The human population deserves to be treated at least as well as the animal and plant life in the area,’ he said.
Dr Staines was speaking at public debate organised by the Meath Community Forum in Drogheda’s, Boyne Valley Hotel. The meeting was called to discuss the Waste Management Strategy for the North East.
Fine Gael TD Shane McEntee said the incinerator was ‘a potential time bomb.’
‘We don’t know what long-term health impact it will have on local people, animals or agriculture,’
If the incinerator is built and health studies haven’t been carried out, there will be no point in years to come wondering why we have problems in public health or agricultural,’ he added.
Dr Staines said that by doing a ‘base line health study’ changes could be made to the plant’s design to reduce the potential hazards. ‘The people who will operate this plant need to have this information,’ he stressed.
Shane McEntee said Ireland hadn’t got the necessary native expertise to monitor incinerators or their potential hazards.
Speaking about the forthcoming waste management strategy for the North East local councillor
Dominic Hannigan said the recycling option was not being fully explored or exploited.
‘By 2010, 14pc of waste expenditure will be spent to recycle 40pc of waste materials. Galway is currently achieving recycling rates of 60pc. If we seriously put our minds to recycling this incinerator would not be needed. the problem is the lack of political will,’ said Cllr Hannigan.
A spokeswoman for Indaver Ireland, the company who will operate the proposed incinerator at Duleek, said the facility must comply with the EU Waste Framework Directive and the Waste Incineration Directive.
‘Both directives take into account advice from the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, experts in the protection of public health.’
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment