Toxic waste report - Dust could be a threat

TOXINS, such as chromium, have been found in and around the dump known as the East Tip on Haulbowline Island, but these do not pose a immediate threat to local residents, according to a report of Government-appointed consultants.

They were appointed after the Irish Examiner revealed that the amount of toxic waste on the East Tip was much higher than previously believed.

The consultants warn, however, that recent excavations on the East Tip have exposed sludge material that would form dust in dry weather, and this could pose an airborne threat. They therefore recommend that the area be backfilled.

They also suggested that the entire site of the former Irish Steel plant should be investigated and assessed for potential contamination. Levels of chromium were found in mussels in the harbour, but the source of this contamination could not be identified.

From the environmental standpoint, the most disturbing aspect of the report is the level of dangerous toxins found in the water of the harbour, where there were elevated concentrations of mercury, arsenic and nickel, and levels of lead were found in mussels. The consultants did not consider that the Irish Steel plant was the source of this pollution.

It is important that the source of such pollution in what is a public amenity should be identified and stopped without further delay.

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