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Millions of sharp plastic shards on beach sparks call for answers

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Locals Grainne Grehan, left, and Harriet Donnelly with her daughter Flossie (11) collect 
hundreds of the sharp plastic slivers from the beach in Sandycove

Locals Grainne Grehan, left, and Harriet Donnelly with her daughter Flossie (11) collect hundreds of the sharp plastic slivers from the beach in Sandycove

Locals Grainne Grehan, left, and Harriet Donnelly with her daughter Flossie (11) collect hundreds of the sharp plastic slivers from the beach in Sandycove

A councillor has demanded urgent action to clear up plastic pollution which contaminated Sandycove Beach.

Councillor Melisa Halpin is also calling for answers over how the "catastrophic" contamination - caused by plastic used in the construction of a new pier - happened.

Cllr Halpin, a member of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said yesterday it was crucial that those responsible for the contamination of the popular Forty Foot bathing site deploy all necessary staff to clean up the mess.

But as crews continued the clean-up operation, she said serious questions remained over how the mishap happened in the first place.

"They absolutely have to put in as many workers as necessary to see if there's further seepage," the People Before Profit councillor told the Herald.

"But the big question is how did they get this so wrong? At the point where we're trying to stop using plastics, pouring it into the sea on purpose seems absolutely ludicrous."

Officials from the SIAC/Mantovani Group - which was contracted by the council to build the new pier at the nearby Dun Laoghaire baths - have promised to send a marine specialist and divers to the site to inspect the shoreline.

The company also promised to deploy at least 50 staff to clean up after locals found what looked like millions of 4cm shards of sharp plastic littering the sand and shoreline of Sandycove Beach on Friday morning.

Officials from the company could not be reached for comment last night.

Littering

The rigid plastic fibres, estimated to weigh 100kg in total, escaped from underwater foundations for the new pier.

Plastic mixed with concrete was poured into the seabed last Tuesday. The company said the fibres normally bind with concrete but something went wrong and the fibres detached.

The council says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have been advised while it continues to "closely monitor the developing situation".


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