Guidelines for incineration are available to all

I AM sick of Indaver’s double standards in relation to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

How can Jackie Keaney (Irish Examiner letters, March 9) speak of "recognised safety standards set by the WHO".

The site purchased by Indaver at Ringaskiddy is considered by the WHO to be unsuitable for construction of a hazardous waste incinerator for four distinct reasons, outlined in its publication European Series No 46, Site Selection for New Hazardous Waste Management Facilities.

Ms Keaney alludes to the environmental impacts of "all waste management systems". Of course all waste management systems have environmental impacts but none so great as a hazardous waste incinerator whose emissions control system has malfunctioned.

In its environmental impact assessment of the proposed Ringaskiddy facility, Indaver did not even attempt to evaluate the potential exposure to Cork Harbour residents from a similar incident, let alone a malfunction of its emissions control system.

On March 2 (Irish Examiner letters), Ms Keaney quoted from a WHO publication, stating "incineration will not impact on public health and for this reason it is 'possible to locate facilities near to densely-populated areas'".

Well, one might take this advice on board had the document quoted by Ms Keaney not been 10 years out of date and relating solely to municipal waste incineration.

The latest on hazardous waste incineration was published by the WHO in 2004 in its Fact Sheet No 281. This categorically states best practice in hazardous waste management to include "siting incinerators away from populated areas or areas where food is grown, thus minimising exposures and thereby risks".

The constitutional objective of the WHO is "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health" where health is defined as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".

So if Indaver Ireland wants to enter into the health debate with the 35,000 people living within a five-mile radius of its proposed Ringaskiddy facility, then it is welcome to do so. But let it remember that this is a serious forum which holds no place for selective quotes, misapplication of well-researched guidelines and self-promotion.

Marcia K D'Alton


Passage West Town Council

22 Hillcrest

Pembroke Wood

Passage West

Co Cork.

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