Thursday 19 September 2019

Bill for clean-up of plastic shards 'will be recouped'

Shocked: Locals Grainne Grehan, left, and Harriet Donnelly with her daughter Flossie (11) collect sharp plastic slivers on the beach in Sandycove. Photo: Damien Eagers
Shocked: Locals Grainne Grehan, left, and Harriet Donnelly with her daughter Flossie (11) collect sharp plastic slivers on the beach in Sandycove. Photo: Damien Eagers
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

The developer responsible for millions of plastic shards that washed up near Dún Laoghaire baths will have to shoulder the costs of cleaning up the mess, the local authority has said.

A massive clean-up operation has been under way since Friday, when needle-like plastic shards washed up on shore following works carried out at the nearby baths.

The SIAC and Mantovani group, who secured a lucrative €10m contract to redevelop the site in April of this year, has been engaging with the council while investigations into the environmental impact are under way.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said the project works have now been halted and all costs incurred from the clean-up will be referred back to the company.

"The council wishes to advise the public that it will be recouping any and all public costs associated from SIAC/Mantovani," it said.

"The council has stopped all works at the Dún Laoghaire baths site temporarily," it added. A team of more than 70 individuals, including environmental clean-up specialists, have been involved in removing the plastic fibres from the shore.

Tests on water quality and the impact on the local wildlife were completed by the contractor last weekend, which said "all visible fibres" have been removed.

"Teams have inspected the shoreline from Dalkey Harbour to the East Pier where a small quantity of fibres were retrieved on Sunday.

"Divers have also inspected the deeper areas adjacent to shore and rock pools and have found nothing," it said.

However, local residents have raised concerns about the volume of fibres released into the ocean and the long-term effects it will have on the area and its wildlife.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Cormac Devlin said there were was a risk that the plastics would be washing up for weeks to come.

"These are going to continuously wash up and the contractor needs to deploy enough resources to this on an ongoing basis," he said.

"I don't think it shouldn't have happened, I accept mistakes happen but given the expertise involved in this project I am extremely surprised.

"I am really surprised something like this could happen on the watch of a contractor who allegedly has so much experience."

A spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it was available to provide "help and assistance to the local authority", but it had so far not been asked.

Irish Independent

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