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An Bord Pleanála grants permission for plastic factory despite environmental concerns

An Bord Pleanála (ABP) has granted planning permission for a plastic factory in Skibbereen, Co Cork despite deep reservations from concerned locals over potential environmental and health issues.  Cork County Council granted permission for the facility to Daly Products Ltd, an Irish division of a Minnesota-based company, RTP Company, in December 2017.

A group of concerned Skibbereen residents under the Save Our Skibbereen campaign appealed the decision to ABP earlier this year.  The group argued that they were not adequately informed about the potential environmental and health implications of living nearby a plastic factory.  They are also concerned about emissions from the plant and any possible chemical runoff to the town’s sewage treatment system.  RTP invited locals to a public consultation last December to address their concerns and has responded to all the County Council’s requests for further information in relation to its planning application.  Residents, however, still want ABP to insist that an Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out to determine if there is any potential impact on the town’s air quality and wastewater treatment system.

The campaign group issued a statement earlier today that it will hold a public meeting at the West Cork Hotel on 13 December to announce the next steps it will take now that ABP has ruled in favour of the plastic factory.  Earlier this summer, the campaign group said that it was prepared to start fundraising to judicially review the decision if the planning authority stands by the original decision to grant permission.  The group’s campaign has drawn international attention, with Canadian plastic campaigner Bryan McNeil travelling to Skibbereen earlier in the summer.

Water contamination concerns

SOS has repeatedly voiced its concern about possible water contamination from nurdles, a by-product of plastic manufacturing.  Nurdles are inherently non-toxic. However, they began to act as sponges overtime and can absorb chemicals found in water such as DDT, a chemical compound used in insecticide.  Marine species often chow down plastic nurdles, mistaking them for fish eggs. If digested, chemicals adhered to the nurdles become absorbed into their tissues, making them potentially hazardous for humans to consume.  Chemicals added to plastics in the manufacturing process are believed to be readily absorbed by the human body, with some plastic compounds found to cause cancer or have other potential health impacts.   For example, Phthalate, a chemical added to plastic to make it softer, is known to cause infertility, congenital disabilities, and other health issues.

Source – Green News

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