A NEW environmental group has been set up in Limerick to protest against what they describe as Irish Cement’s planning application to incinerate hazardous waste at their plant in Mungret.
“The type of hazardous waste they have sought planning permission to incinerate includes a million complete tyres every month, plastics, solvents, waste oils, paint sludge and sewage sludge .
“Using these materials in an aged cement kiln will produce dioxins and 18 different metals that will be emitted into Limerick’s air covering a radius of 32km. If this gets the go ahead from the council and the EPA, there is a huge risk to human health,” claimed Claire Keating of the newly established Limerick Against Pollution (LAP ) group.
The group has launched a campaign to create public awareness and say it has encouraged up to 1,600 objections to be lodged with the EPA from concerned residents.
“The location for this development is completely unsuitable because of its proximity to residential areas including schools, playgrounds and hospitals.
“57,000 people are directly at risk from the emissions that will be produced”, she added.
LAP has organised a protest March in Limerick city centre on Saturday, March 11 at 2pm.
However Irish Cement told the Limerick Post there is now over 40 years of evidence from Europe to show that using alternative fuels is a safe practice.
“Cement kilns operate at temperatures far above those needed to meet the requirements of the current European regulations. Under these regulations, emissions are limited and must be monitored and reported. Independent verification of emissions compliance is also required. The evidence from around Europe shows that there is no change in the emissions as cement plants transition away from fossil fuels towards alternative fuels.
“The Irish Cement factory in Limerick is now the only cement factory in Ireland not using alternative fuels. Irish Cement is confident, based on the experience around Europe, the high temperatures at which we operate and the modern systems in place, that there will be no change in emissions from the factory in Mungret,” a statement from the company added.