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16 September 2004 Edition

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MEP launches waste strategy for Dublin

"The campaign for a zero waste strategy, for an EU-wide ban on incinerators and against the privatisation of public services, are three of the most important issues for us in Europe," said Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald as she launched the party's waste strategy for the region.

"We are trying, against the evident determination by the Dublin and British administrations, to protect Ireland as a 'clean green, and environmentally sustainable' island. Our agriculture and our opportunities for rural development across the island, require that we are successful."

She said it was "truly incredible" that laws relating to water, waste, and environmental protection continue to be neglected. Aengus O Snodaigh TD and Dublin Councillor Daithi Doolan detailed the document which is a submission to the Dublin City Council consultation process on waste managment.

"Waste management needs to be put back where it belongs - in the remit of local democracy and not removed from accountability to local people," said Doolan. "The Council needs to begin with separated collection of kitchen waste, to set up local composting facilities, which are cheap, and can easily be run by community based co-operatives. We need recycling facilities for other separated waste. Industries, as the major polluters, must start to conform to legislation governing recycling. This way we may work towards a zero waste outcome, as other countries have done without the need for incinerators or the multiplication of landfills.

"But what has Dublin Council done? The opposite. The collected and separated paper and tin waste is brought to Ballymount bailing station, and then transported to landfill at Arthurstown in Kill, Co. Kildare, a site which is about to close because it is full. The Council has allowed the Irish Glass Bottle Company in Ringsend to close, with the result that glass bottles have to be taken to Fermanagh for recycling. Where are the facilities for recycling other separated waste?"

Aengus O Snodaigh pointed out that Minister for the Environment Martin Cullen wants to ensure that composting, recycling and re-use of waste, never gets beyond the magic figure of 50% of all waste. "If over 50% of waste must be disposed of by means other than these, then as landfill sites run out, the case for an incinerators in every region, the government intends, will be unanswerable. This is the policy which successive ministers have continuously reiterated as their solution to waste."

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