``Minister must drop incinerator plans'' - Ó Caoláin
A call has been made for Minister for the Environment and Local Government Noel Dempsey to halt plans to build a network of waste incinerators throughout the 26 Counties. This comes in the wake of revelations from England that the Department of the Environment there concealed figures showing that 88 people die and 168 are hospitalised every year from lung diseases associated with emissions from incinerators.
Making the call was Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, who described the revelation as ``an alarming vindication for those of us who oppose incineration as a waste management option''.
British Environment Minister Michael Meacher last week criticised civil servants in his Department who had concealed the figures for deaths and illness associated with incinerators. His Department's report shows that people's lives will be shortened by cancer-causing dioxins from incinerators. The British government plans to at least double or even triple the number of incinerators operating there at present. And in a further development, efforts to promote incineration in Scotland received a setback when a major fire damaged an incinerator at Dundee in September.
Commenting on the implications for Ireland, Ó Caoláin said:
``The figures for deaths and illness in Britain represent an alarming vindication for those of us who oppose incineration as a waste management option. What is even more worrying is that an attempt was made to cover up these facts. The Minister for the Environment and Local Government Noel Dempsey has admitted that the British Department of the Environment was one of his sources of information on incineration. Was he given these figures? I reiterate my call upon Minister Dempsey to scrap plans for a network of incinerators and to recast government strategy on the basis of reduce, reuse, recycle.
``The news from Britain comes after Longford County Council last week became the seventh local authority in the 26 Counties to reject Draft Waste Management Plans which rely on incinerators. In the North East Region, comprising Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan, the Draft Plan is in disarray after Louth rejected it on 25 October. All four local authorities must adopt it for it to be a valid regional plan.
``It is time now for all the local authorities, and the government, to go back to the drawing board and adopt new plans along the lines of the detailed alternative plan published by Sinn Féin in this region. We will continue to oppose incineration, which is bad for health and bad for real waste management.''