Friday 21 October 2016

Poolbeg firm will not rule out shipping in rubbish from abroad

Published 21/09/2015 | 02:30

Poolbeg incinerator under construction
Poolbeg incinerator under construction

The US-based company behind the controversial Poolbeg Incinerator has failed to rule out importing rubbish from other countries to burn at the site.

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Covanta's Director of Communications James Regan refused to answer when asked if waste will be shipped to the €500m plant.

There is some concern locally that the waste-to-energy facility, which will need 600,000 tonnes of rubbish a year to be profitable, will be shipping in waste from abroad.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Regan said waste would mostly come from the Dublin area, but refused to answer if they would be importing refuse from elsewhere.

"Waste will predominately come from the Dublin region and also from the Eastern and Midlands region in which the facility is located," he said.

When asked for a second time for confirmation that rubbish will not arrive from other nations, he said that Ireland had enough waste, but failed to give a definite answer.

"There is plenty of waste in Ireland," he said.

"As you may or may not know, Ireland is actually a large exporter of waste," he added.

Mr Regan was then pushed a third time for a definite answer, but offered no response.

The multi-million euro plant is part of the Dublin Waste to Energy project, which is a public-private partnership between the four Dublin local authorities and Covanta.

Ringsend councillor Paddy McCarten said a refusal to answer the question surrounding importing waste was worrying for the area.

"This question has been posed many times and we still haven't got a comprehensive response," he said.

"The site is a prime location for accepting cargo from the sea, which would probably offer more sustainable returns than moving waste on the road. Covanta are a business, at the end of the day, and a ruthless one at that. They will do whatever is best for their growth.

"But we need answers surrounding this. What was to be a site solely for Dublin has quickly spiralled into a national project. Now we have the possibility of it being used by the international community."

The New Jersey-based company has come under fire in the US recently, where they are facing up to €70,000 in fines for breaching health and safety standards.

The hazards were uncovered at a waste-to-energy facility in Bristol, Pennsylvania, similar to the €500m unit under construction in Dublin.

The US Department of Labour's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the company for 16 serious violations of workplace safety.

Irish Independent

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