Thursday 18 June 2009

College speaks out against proposed Cork incinerator

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT at the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) in Cork could be severely hindered by a proposed toxic waste incinerator on a neighbouring site, according to a senior college official.

Jody Power, Staff Engineering lecturer, at the NMCI, gave evidence at yesterday’s An Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the proposed incinerator, to be located at Ringaskiddy.

Mr Power is the first NMCI staff member to speak out against Indaver Ireland’s planned facility, but concern is deepening among the student population at the college, according to the college’s Student Union representative Gearóid Buckley, who addressed the oral hearing last week.

Mr Power said the proposed incinerator would severely impact the development of the NMCI and adversely affect the international reputation of the college.

An engineering consultant to campaign group Zero Waste Alliance Ireland (ZWAI), Mr Power referenced his findings from a number of visits to operating incinerators in Denmark.

“The proposed incinerators will, in my opinion, adversely affect the international reputation at the college, and hinder its ability to attract and retain staff and make student enrolment a nightmare,” he said.

Increased levels of incinerated waste have caused recycling rates in Denmark to drop, according to Mr Power, who predicts a similar fall off in Ireland with the introduction of incineration.

“With increased levels of incineration in Denmark, recycling rates have plummeted to become one of the lowest in the EU according to Eurostat 2007 figures. About 84 per cent of Copenhagen’s landmass is polluted with heavy metals and coastline pollution is one of the worst examples, with fish consumption restricted from the Baltic area. What is proposed by the incineration application has very serious implications for Cork harbour and our national reputation as a green, clean country,” he said.

In the morning session of the oral hearing, Department of the Environment official Jarvis Good told the hearing that the planned incinerator would not have “significant” adverse effects on the proposed Special Protection Area (pSPA) of Cork harbour.

Outlining the potential effects of the incinerator emissions on bird life and wider ecology in the harbour area, Mr Good, who is attached to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, said emissions from the incinerator stacks were likely to be localised.

Mr Good said that the proposed combined municipal waste and hazardous waste incinerators were not expected to have a significant adverse effect on the integrity of Cork Harbour pSPA.

However, under questioning from engineer Alan Watson on behalf of Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (Chase), Mr Good admitted that there was a lack of baseline monitoring data available for bird species.

Irish Times

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