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Clean-up goes on after plastic shards wash up at bathing spot

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Plastic shards washed up on the beach at Sandycove

Plastic shards washed up on the beach at Sandycove

Plastic shards washed up on the beach at Sandycove

Questions still need to be asked about how the spill of millions of plastic shards into the Irish Sea nine weeks ago was allowed to happen as a clean-up operation continues.

SIAC was working on the redevelopment of the iconic Dun Laoghaire's baths for the local county council when plastic fibres washed into Dublin Bay on November 2 forcing work on the multi-million project to stop for several days. The spillage occurred while workers were pouring concrete into the site.

The shards have washed up as far away as Donabate in north Co Dublin.

In a statement, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council said: "The recovery operation is ongoing and the quantity of fibres collected is still being assessed. The amounts being recovered on a daily basis are reducing."

However, it had been estimated that anything from 100,000 to several million shards have seeped into the Irish Sea.

Questions

Asked if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been notified by December 1 under the council's mandatory reporting of environmental pollution, the local authority said: "The contractor SIAC/Mantovani and the council have separately notified the EPA of the incident. They are continuing with a clean-up operation."

People Before Profit councillor Dave O'Keeffe said questions needed to be asked about how an incident like this was allowed to happen and what precautions could have been in place to stop it from happening.

"Since the incident the amount of plastic pollution from the spill has reduced. Unfortunately, we may never truly know the scale of environmental damage caused," he said. "What this incident has done is to highlight the damage that plastics can cause to our beautiful landscapes.

"Last year I proposed a motion which was passed unanimously at the council to make Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Ireland's first single-use plastic free county and I think now more than ever we need to wake up to the environmental damage caused by plastics."

The rigid plastic fibres escaped during the pouring of underwater foundations.


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