source: Limerick Leader, 4.12.2020
THERE is a danger the Shannon Estuary could become a “cesspool for dirty industry”, campaigners have warned.
Speaking at the second day of a five-day hearing into Irish Cement’s proposals for Mungret, Limerick Against Pollution’s Claire Keating showed a diagram of the various industries planned or currently on the banks of the Shannon and its entry into the Atlantic Ocean.
She highlighted the oil-fired generator located in Tarbert, the coal-fired generator at Moneypoint, Rusal Alumina located At Aughinish and the controversial Shannon LNG project proposed in Ballylongford.
Dr Angus Mitchell said: “Why should we consider there is an environmental health risk when Irish Cement tells us there isn’t? The answer is simple. Because the EPA tells us so.”
He pointed to a 2007 report which related to an assessment of a National Waste Management Plan.
“On page 72, the EPA says cement kilns can emit large volumes of dust which in addition to being a respiratory hazard, can act as a medium for the transport of other air pollutants,” Dr Mitchell told the hearing.
“Despite the evidence, they [Irish Cement] keep telling us there are no risks. There are risks Mr Gilmore. There are risks. You need to face up to them. You cannot keep denying them. We feel very threatened by this, and you don’t seem to understand that. this is on the record now as to how threatened we feel,” he added.
Dr Ioannis Zabetakis of the University of Limerick’s health research institute feels Irish Cement has not properly evaluated the hazards and calculated the risk.
He said: “These are questions not just to Irish Cement, but also the EPA. How will you monitor these hazards in an independent way and create data which speaks for itself. We don’t need to look at literature to find out if incineration or co-incineration is safe or not. We need to do a trial run in the kiln at Irish Cement itself. We need to put proper monitors at the top of each chimney.”
Also speaking for Limerick Against Pollution, environmental health expert Jack O’Sullivan said if the environmental regulator does not refuse Irish Cement a licence to operate – the last hurdle the firm has to clear – it should issue permission for just five years, and which would not permit the use of any materials which could be recycled instead.