Tuesday 21 May 2019

This is the wrong size and in the wrong place

Comment

Greens leader Eamon Ryan. Picture James Horan/Collins
Greens leader Eamon Ryan. Picture James Horan/Collins

Eamon Ryan

The development of the Docklands and Poolbeg peninsula is the best opportunity to reconfigure how Dublin works since the visionary planning in the 18th century.

With the go-ahead being given to a national waste incinerator, we will now be driving half the country's waste through the city centre and then driving the ashes away to be dumped elsewhere.

While simultaneously developing the Silicon Docks, a Dodder linear park and pedestrian access to Sandymount Strand, we are now putting 120 heavy trucks into the daily mix as well. This project is the wrong size, in the wrong place.

The city manager says that it has to happen because €100m has already been spent, but there is no clarity as to where that money has gone. The manager has talked about making a profit out of the whole venture, but someone is going to have to pay back the guaranteed returns that the developer has been promised, That's the householder.

The Government could have stopped this project and pursued a more ambitious recycling policy, but they abandoned that approach, It is another nail in the coffin of their environmental reputation.

It makes no sense to be burning rubbish when the rest of Europe is now going for a 70pc recycling rate. Other alternatives, such as treating the waste using new mechanical or biological treatments, would allow us to shut down the landfill sites that everyone agrees have to go, and offer an alternative to incineration.

This project was conceived back in 1998 in a totally different world. We have shown since then that we can both reduce the amount of waste we create and reach recycling rates never thought possible. Only a legal challenge or change of heart in government can stop it now. We need to abandon the 20th-century approach to our waste problem, and get with the programme on 21st century thinking.

Eamon Ryan is leader of the Green Party

Irish Independent

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