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I was impressed by the way in which a Mr Chambers in the recent RTÉ Morning Ireland programme dealt with proposals for an incinerator for Cork.
It brought back memories of my communications a number of years ago when the Poolbeg incinerator was being discussed.
At that time I pointed out that the burning of so-called organic wastes is a wanton destruction of a vital resource.
The incinerator proponents at that time were suggesting that the Poolbeg incinerator would provide about 50MW of electricity. That input included plastics. If these were removed the wet biomass remaining might produce 10 MW of electricity — or about the equivalent of three modern wind turbines.
I invited Mr Tierney, then of Dublin City Council which headed the initiative, to open debate on the issue.
I advised him that he could select proponents from any source. He refused.
Dublin City Council spent vast sums of money hiring consultants. I suggested that we have in Ireland scientists of high quality who could carry out research to show how alternative, profitable, and environmentally-friendly uses could be made available that would demonstrate the great potential values of so-called organic wastes.
There are outstanding scientists in UCC who could contribute to demonstrations of alternative uses, and there are others in fourth level educational Institutions in the West of Ireland who could also contribute significantly.
The Prime Time television programme recently showed that untreated sewage sludges from townships are entering waterways.
Sewage, if harnessed, is a very desirable fertiliser resource, and there are aerobic thermophilic digestion processes that will destroy any associated pathogens and enable the sludges to be applied to land.
Interestingly Mr Tierney now heads Irish Water, and I understand that significant funds may well be paid for consultants, though I do not know for what.
Again, I can say that there is a vast resource of talent in our Universities and Research Institutes that can provide the answers needed.
Dr Michael HB Hayes
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