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Report on health and env effects of landfill and thermal by DOE

Report on health and env effects of landfill and thermal by DOE

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21/02/2003

Archived item. This item is published here for historical reasons. The information below may be out of date.

The Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Mr. Martin Cullen, T.D., today (20 February) welcomed the publication by the Health Research Board (HRB) of a report on the public health and environmental effects of landfill and thermal treatment of waste.
“My predecessor requested the HRB to commission this study in order to provide an objective and independent analysis of information regarding the likely effects of landfill and thermal treatment (especially incineration) activities on public health and the environment.
“The HRB report is a lengthy and detailed body of work. It merits, and will receive, careful consideration, both within my Department and the EPA” said the Minister.
Minister Cullen went on to say: “Current Irish waste management practices are not sustainable. As the HRB report states, an integrated systems approach is required if effective waste management is to be accomplished, and this approach must reflect the waste hierarchy of prevention, re-use and recycling, energy recovery and environmentally secure disposal of residual wastes.
“We are going forward on this basis at national and regional level, and will be developing a range of modern waste infrastructure, including a limited number of state of the art thermal treatment facilities and residual landfills, licensed to the most up-to-date and stringent standards. In this context, the HRB report provides a useful perspective on issues surrounding waste facilities, though it is acknowledged that the studies identified primarily concern the impacts of older technologies, operating to considerably lower standards than are now required.”
“No waste management option, even recycling, is risk free. What is important is that modern technologies, operating standards and effective regulatory controls are combined to minimise any such risk and potential impacts. I am satisfied that under the rigorous environmental licensing system operated by the EPA, proposed new facilities will not present a significant risk to public health or the environment.”
“I want to see our waste properly managed in modern, well regulated, facilities.
“The main environmental threat facing us is not from facilities, but from unauthorised waste activities which ignore environmental protection altogether. I will be providing additional resources, both directly to local authorities and through the proposed Office of Environmental Enforcement, to tackle this genuine problem”, concluded Minister Cullen.

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