Monday 15 September 2008

EPA urges incineration for some hazardous waste

Incineration has been recommended as part of a strategy to deal with the State’s hazardous waste.

A new, national waste management plan published today recommends a twin-track approach to handling the waste. The National Hazardous Waste Management Plan recommends reducing hazardous waste through prevention, but also the use of incineration and landfill for other types of dangerous substances.

Published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the plan aims to make the Republic self-sufficient in handling its hazardous wastes which range from chemicals and pharmaceuticals to batteries, paints, asbestos and herbicides.

Key aspects of the plan include recommendations that national and regional landfills are developed for asbestos while incineration is used for other types of hazards.

Commenting on the plan Director General of the EPA, Dr Mary Kelly said: “Ireland must find new ways to become self sufficient in dealing with our hazardous waste.

“Whilst there has been some improvement in Ireland’s infrastructure, there is still a deficit and this Plan recommends alternative methods for the reduction, collection and management of this waste within Ireland.”

The Plan makes 29 recommendations that, when implemented, will:

reduce the generation of hazardous waste by demonstrating available alternatives to Irish industry and society;

ensure that all hazardous waste is collected and is managed appropriately;

increase Ireland’s self-sufficiency in hazardous waste management and reduce exports; and

deal with the legacy and contamination of past practices involving hazardous materials.

The EPA will take the lead in implementing a large number of the plan’s recommendations as well as monitoring the implementation of the overall plan. A number of other public bodies are identified in the plan for the implementation of the recommendations, including the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and local authorities.

Dr Gerry Byrne, Programme Manager, EPA, said: “We now have a focused and up to date plan for improving how we think about and manage hazardous waste in Ireland.

“The EPA and public bodies generally must take responsibility for ensuring it is implemented in full. Irish industry and society must play their part by responding to the initiatives and using the services that will be put in place for their benefit.”

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