THOUSANDS of restaurants and fast-food outlets are being banned from flushing millions of litres of fat, oil and grease down their drains.
Fed up with forking out €500,000 every year to clear blockages caused by kitchen fat, Dublin City Council is to impose major restrictions on 4,000 restaurants.
The initiative, one of the first in Europe, aims to stop blockages which cause pollution and flooding.
Temple Bar, the trendy area for restaurant goers, is one of the first targets in the anti-fat crackdown.
It is hoped the waste will instead be collected and recycled by private operators and used as bio-fuel for trucks.
More than seven million litres of fat, oil and grease are discharged from the city's restaurants into sewers.
A council survey has discovered that only 5pc of restaurants have any proper controls on the discharges.
A total of 65pc of premises had no measures to deal with the material, apart from flushing it down the drain. A further 35pc had some system but these were not working.
Battie White, deputy city engineer, said yesterday that this material should not be put into the city's drainage system.
He said that frequently the warm or hot fat or oil solidified in the sewers and caused major blockages which were very expensive to resolve.
"There has been a big increase in food outlets in Dublin in recent years with the result that there is a lot of fat, oil and grease getting into the system," he said yesterday.
"This is not environmentally sound," he added.
The new restrictions will be introduced on a phased basis by the end of the year and the outlets will have to apply for special waste disposal licences.
An initial 2,000 premises will be licensed in the first phase, followed by a further 2,000 licences afterwards.
© Irish Independent