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No Dump at Minabpol

category donegal | environment | news report author Sunday November 07, 2004 23:53author by No Dump at Minabpol - Fintown Environment Groupauthor email nodump at dun-na-ngall dot com Report this post to the editors

Public opposition to Dump in Donegal Gaeltacht
Green party TD Trevor Sargent supports locals at Minabpol Donegal
Green party TD Trevor Sargent supports locals at Minabpol Donegal

Public Outrage at Minabpoll Landfill Proposal

There is public outrage at Donegal County Council's proposal to build a superdump in the middle of the county at Minabpol townland, a rural area adjacent to Meeniroy Hill and only 11 kms from Glenveigh National Park.
If you've ever driven from Belfast, Derry or Letterkenny to South Donegal (or vice versa) you will no doubt remember a very steep hill 10kms from Letterkenny at the top of which the majestic Bluestacks can be seen across the horizon.
This is where Donegal County Council want to put a superdump, in one of the most scenic and elevated spots in the County and while, sparsely populated, the site is also in the Gaeltacht.

Locals fear environmental pollution; the loss of tourism revenue and devaluation of their land and homes.
The fact that the site is situated a 1000 ft above sea level, the Gartan water supply and that tribituaries of the Finn and Lennan Rivers run through the site makes the suggestion ludicruous.

At a meeting in Fintown, one member of the public compared the proposition to a Monty Python sketch. 'It's like an Irish joke. Why would you choose a place with 2000-3000mm of rainfall per annum to situate a dump - never mind the high winds? It's ridiculous.'

The proposed landfill dump would be capable of taking up to 80,000 tonnes of rubbish per year, according to Donegal County Council's own Environmental Impact Study (EIS) which infers that the site would be the dump for the whole County.

Waste is big money and one of the lessor known aspects of the Good Friday Agreement is cross-border waste management. At present Tyrone's landfill is in Fermanagh and County Derry needs more Landfill. Locals fear Minabpoll becoming the dump for the North West.

This coupled with light pollution; the buring off of methane and carbon monoxide; the disruption to bird and wildlife, including the Golden Eagle, buzzards and plover, otters, Irish hares and wild deer and the pollution to local sheep and turf farms, makes the propositon a fearful one.

Donegal Council has submitted their Environmental Impact Study to the Planning Board and locals have put their objections in writing to the same authority.

One local asked Donegal planners if the proposed dump was so clean why couldn't it be positioned in the vacant 14 acre lot adjacent to the Council's offices in Letterkenny - after all Letterkenny is where the majority of the polluters are?'
The officials answered that it wasn't suitable as it was prime real estate.

This week we learned that the 'prime real estate' adjacent the council's offices in Letterkenny is earmarked for the 'Donegal Discovery Centre Theme park', costing 15 million Euro and supported by Failte Ireland, formerly Bord Failte and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Do you get the picture? Donegal County Council are willing to destroy a part of the real landscape in Donegal, at a cost of 3 million Euro and countless millions in future tourism revenue, while developing a pretend Donegal at a cost of 7 million Euro to the Irish taxpayer. The mind boggles.

If Failte Ireland were so concerned with tourism figures for Donegal (only 3% of the 7 million visitors to Ireland in 2003 came to Donegal) they could use the 7 million they plan to put into the Donegal theme park to fund recycling and environmental awareness programmes in the North West.

The balance of 8 million Euro for the Donegal Theme park has already been secured by Letterkenny Town Council, a private developer from Dublin, and Merlin Entertainment, a English based company which will operate the theme park.
One wonders how much of the history of Donegal will be related in the theme park? Will it tell the story of the Battle of Scarfollius in 1608 when the Donegal chieftains were defeated by the Engish and when 2000 Ulstermen were taken to Minabpol to be executed by hanging.
Is this what we've come to? Burying our ancestors under half a millon tonnes of rubbish?
Somehow the residents around Minabpol don't think that this aspect of Donegal's history will be included in the theme park.
email nodump@dun-na-ngall.com

author by a realistic viewpublication date Wed Jan 26, 2005 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As someone who works in the watse management area, and also has the deepest respect for our environment, I daily see the contradictory nature of local opposition towards all types of waste management facilities. The root of the problem is the amount of waste that we are producing as a society. There is absolutely no point in opposing the development of facilities such as landfills, incinerators etc., unless we are completely committed to fundamentally changing the way our society goes about its daily business. When a facility such as the one being talked about here is proposed, it takes very little time for a local opposition group to be formed and start objecting to its development. And groups such as the Zero Waste Alliance are quick to lend their support. I completely support the idea of a zero waste society, but it very unlikely that this is going to happen in the forseeable future How are we going to recycle hugh amounts of waste such as cardboard and plastic locally? Any community has only got a certain amount that they can practically use. We consume absolutely massive amounts of products that have even more packaging associated with them. There is no way that the local community around where this landfill is earmarked for could use locally the packaging that they produce. The fact is that the way in which this society lives requires us to have facilities such as landfills and incinerators to enable us to deal with the amount of waste that we produce. It has to be also pointed out that over the last ten years, hugh steps with regard to ensuring that these faclities have as little impact on the environment as possible. They are very strictly monitored, and the emissions allowed from them are calculated before their commission to ensure they do not damage the environment. Most engineered landfills that have been constructed recently are absolutely amazing in the way in which they deal with both the methane emissions and the leachate produced. The methane is not allowed to escape to the atmosphere to add to our greenhouse woes, but is used as a fuel to power turbines that produce electricity, and the leachate is gathered, and treated before disposal. We are quick to believe the producers of consumer goods when they say that they have made the products with our best interests at heart, and so we go out and buy them(what is Nutrilium any way, and does it really make my hair shinier), but yet we are slow to believe those who try to ensure that the waste that we generate does not harm us. The first have a vested interest in promoting their goods and getting us to but them, yet the people who try to convince us that they are trying to ensure that the leachate from the landfill will not affect the water in the area are just doing their job, and not making massive amounts of money from doing it. So unless we can change our society from one that is consuming itself off the face of the planet to one that has respect for its resources, then we should stop to think where the wastes that Joe Public is generating will go. Even if all the people who are involved with these campaigns were to start using cloth nappies, glass bottles and mended all their own clothes, we would still need somewhere to put the waste generated by the other less conscientious citizens.
There are of course problems associated with these facilities ie traffic, asthetic impact, POTENTIAL adverse environmental effects etc. but these have to be weighed against the immediate alternative, which is no landfill space, and waste building up all over the place. Waste production must be decreased as soon as possible, but with the way our economy and society is going, its a long way off becoming a zero waste one. I know to advocate the use of incinerators is to invite all sorts of abuse and allegations of abuse of the environment, but when run properly, as all newly commissioned ones would surely be, they would be of massive benefit to all of us. But thats a comment for a different day. As for landfills, they are essential, right here, right now.

author by Tom Allan - Indymedia Scotlandpublication date Sun Feb 27, 2005 13:28author email w_t_allan at yahoo dot comauthor address Edinburghauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent article, and an interesting response from "realistic".

Thought you might be interested in this article about Greengairns, a community in Lanarkshir ein Scotland, that has had to put up with decades of open cast coal mining and then landfill sites. Perhaps there is some scope for co-operation between these communities.

Whilst I take the point about the importance of lower consumption as being critical to reducing dependence upon landfill, there is surely little justice in expecting certain communities to suffer the adverse consequences of out love affair with packaging, whilst others, particularly urban centres, avoid the social and environmental costs. The landfills at Greengairns receives much of the rubbish from Glasgow, a city with a poor record on recycling. The one proposed for you're area is apparently for the whole county. Should these communities have to pay the price so that others can continue the same lifestyle?

There is a practical point, as well as a moral one. Council tax rises and education campaigns are slow to change attitudes towards our waste culture. The conection between the quality of our environment, in the personal sense of what is around us, and what we throw away, should be maintained. In other words, if city dwellers like myself had to have the landfills in our back gardens, or have it burnt round the corner, you can bet we'd by recycling, reusing and reducing our waste like mad. Of course, that scenario is ridiculous, because cities are oncentrations of wealth, power and voters, who would immediately be up in arms voting out their councils. Rural communities are smaller, marginalised, and thus easier targets.

Anyway, I'll be doing a story about the Gelngairns community and its history. Please let me know what the outcome of your efforts was, and good luck.

Related Link: http://www.scotland.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/992
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