Monday 10 September 2007

Avoca is Ireland's filthiest river

It should be the jewel in the crown of the Garden of Ireland -- but Wicklow's main river is the filthiest in the country.

The Avoca, which runs through Arklow in County Wicklow, has been named by both the Environmental Protection Agency and members of the Garda Diving Unit as the most polluted in Ireland.

The lack of a sewage system means that the waste of the Arklow's 12,000 inhabitants is being pumped into the river.

A site for a proposed sewage treatment plant has been identified at Seabank in Arklow. However, it is the subject of an ongoing high court battle.

In the meantime, faeces and toilet paper can be seen floating in the water. The river is also still being polluted from the disused Avoca mines.

Independent councillor Peter Dempsey has launched a campaign to clean up the Avoca, placing placards on the river bed and collecting 8,000 signatures on a petition.

Cllr Dempsey says it is incredible that all the sewage is going straight into the river, considering Wicklow is former Environment minister Dick Roche's constituency.

He said: "He should be shot with a ball of sh**e. Wicklow people won't forget this."

The Department of the Environment said the Arklow Main Draining Scheme has been approved for funding, and will go ahead whenever the court approves it.

Spokesperson John Whelan said: "There is an urgent need for waste-water treatment facilities in the Arklow area, to meet EU and national regulations.

"However, the location of a plant is the subject of ongoing proceedings in the High Court. The reserved judgement is expected in October."

Irish Independent

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