Incinerator emissions: Monitoring not finalised

Image by @MStampDublin.

The Poolbeg incinerator has begun pumping out smoke as it begins to come into operation. It will take a number of months until it is actually combusting waste at full scale. However, even at this early stage many in Ringsend, where the plant is based, have expressed disappointment and concern.

Images of the facility bellowing out smoke recently were shared on social media, with some saying they could smell burning rubber. Others were fearful of the health impact in years to come, though a few felt there was nothing to be concerned with.

There has been much controversy and opposition to the plant, often due to the nature of the contract, as well as the suitability of lead company, Covanta. There are concerns due to its previous emissions infringements record in Canada and the U.S.

In response to the issues surrounding the incinerator, the Social Democrats had launched a petition on to ask for Minister for the Environment to ensure monitoring of dioxins at the incinerator was carried out and that such data would be independent and publicly available.

As the campaign has developed, the Social Democrats have put their request to the minister, who is currently developing a clean air strategy in line with upcoming stringent E.U. requirements for clean air regulations.

In addition, the Social Democrats put their questions on expanding the Clean Air Framework to include dioxins, as well as furans. The EPA responded that it had been “forwarded to the office of Environmental Enforcement and Radiation Protection and Environmental Monitoring for consideration.”

Furthermore, as part of their petition, the Social Democrats had requested that a monitoring station be installed in Poolbeg.

According to long-term campaigner against the incinerator, Joe McCarthy, a mobile unit has been placed in range of the facility in recent weeks. This is monitoring several of the toxins but not dioxins.

The Social Democrats are continuing with the issue. The incinerator is expected to be fully operational by August of this year.

By Kevin Mac Sharry