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Displaying items by tag: pollution

#COASTAL NOTES - The Irish Times reports that Balbriggan Beach was reopened for swimming yesterday 31 August after the latest in a string of E.coli scares around the Irish coast.

The beach at the north Co Dublin coastal town was closed to bathers after a pumping station malfunction caused raw sewage to be pumped into the sea for up to 24 hours earlier this week.

E.coli levels were subsequently recorded at five times the maximum EU safety limit, and as much as 100 times the Blue Flag standard for European beaches.

The incident raised concerns among campaigners opposed to the proposed new water treatment 'super plant' for Fingal.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, worries have been expressed by locals in the towns of Skerries, Loughskinny and Rush about the effects of the planned outfall pipe in their area.

The Balbriggan swimming ban marked the second beach closure in north Dublin during August, after the waters at Rush South were found to be contaminated with E.coli over the bank holiday weekend.

A bathing ban was also imposed on seven beaches in Cork last month due to high levels of the bacteria, while a breach of safe levels at Salthill in Galway last week caused concern ahead of tomorrow's Ironman 70.3 triathlon.

Published in Coastal Notes

#COASTAL NOTES - The bathing ban imposed last week on seven Cork coastal beaches has been lifted, according to RTÉ News.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the seven beaches had been closed to swimming over concerns at elevated E.coli levels in the water, resulting from water runoff after the recent heavy rainfall in the county.

Cork County Council took the decision to lift restrictions after tests this week showed E.coli levels had "significantly descreaed" below the EU mandatory safety level.

The seven affected beaches included three in the Youghal area. Redbarn at Youghal joins Garretsown near Kinsale and Garryvoe in the beaches that can fly their Blue Flags once more.

Published in Coastal Notes

#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard is ill-prepared to respond to any major pollution incident off our coastline, according to a report commissioned by the Government.

As Lorna Siggins writes in The Irish Times on Friday, the report identified weaknesses in communication within the coastguard and in the training of volunteer crews, as well as deficiencies in the Marine Survey Office.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, whose office commissioned the 'value for money' studies, said he would begin an action plan due in October to deal with such issues, which may require "tough decisions" - including the closure of a coastguard radio station at Malin or Valentia.

The studies by Fisher Associates highlighted the lack of a dedicated polluton control team within the coastguard, despite staff having "sufficient knowledge to respond".

Auditing of various pollution response plans was also found to be lax, while problems were also identified in management and training of the coastguard's 1,000 volunteers.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#INLAND WATERWAYS - The Tyrone Times reports that Clogher and District Angling Club has been awarded £1,000 (€1,196) by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) for an environmental project with local schools.

The Water Environment Community Awards recognised the club for its work with St McCartan's Primary School in Clogher and Augher Central Primary School to "investigate the signs and impact of pollution in the River Blackwater" over the coming months.

“Clogher and District Angling Club have demonstrated their commitment to protecting and improving their local water environment," said the NIEA's Dave Foster.

"I hope that their efforts over the next few months will inspire others to do their bit too and I would urge people to follow these projects and share what they see.”

Published in Inland Waterways

#NEWS UPDATE - The Irish Petroleum Industry Association (IPIA) has proposed a suite of measures aimed at tackling the problem of illegal diesel washing in Ireland.

In a statement, the industry body for Ireland's fuel industry says that the practice is costing the Exchequer as much as €155 million annually in lost fuel duty.

"While other jurisdictions have to tackle this sort of fraud, the sheer scale of criminal washing of diesel is a particularly Irish disease," it said.

The IPIA's recommendations include the introduction of "a strong regulatory regime" to control the sale of rebated fuel, a new market for off-road diesel that is harder to disguise or remove, the closure of unlicenced filling stations, and a "radical overhaul" of the currently "absurd" penalties for offending retailers.

The Irish Angling Development Alliance (IADA) has fully backed the IPIA's proposals, citing the dangers of toxic waste byproducts from diesel washing operations.

"This toxic waste has been dumped illegally across the country, where it can enter the water table, not only seriously polluting water courses but also clean drinking water supplies."

Published in News Update

#INLAND WATERWAYS - Officials at the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) are attempting to find the source of a pollutant that resulted in a fish kill on the Threemilewater river in recent weeks.

The Newtownabbey Times reports that more than 120 trout and salmon parr have been found dead on the short stretch of river between Mossley Mill and Doagh Road in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.

John Webster of the Threemilewater Conservation and Angling Association speculated that the pollutant may have entered the water from any of a number of pipes that flow into the waterway near the railway line at Mossley Mill.

He described the fish kill as "an absolute diasaster", especially coming as it did at the opening of the fishing season on 1 March.

The Newtownabbey Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#LARNE LOUGH - Larne Council has looked into the concerns of local residents over a proposed £250 million (€300 million) natural gas plant at Larne Lough, the Larne Times reports.

Islandmagee Storage Limited (IMSL) has applied for planning permission for a 500 million cubic metre natural gas storage facility in Permian salt beds almost a mile beneath the lough, which is claimed would satisfy the North's peak demand for gas for over 60 days.

But locals have spoken out with their fears over noise levels, health and safety, pollution and the potential effect on tourism in the area.

Larne Council’s environmental health department carried out its own research into the proposed facility, taking these concerns into consideration.

It found that there was "no huge issue in terms of noise levels" where similar facilities are established throughout the UK and that the effect on tourism would be negligable.

However the department was “not yet happy” with data supplied by IMSL regarding noise levels and would be seeking more detailed information.

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#NEWS UPDATE - The Minister for Health has raised concerns over a new water treatment 'super plant' planned for Fingal, amid fears that a malfunction could see huge amounts of raw sewerage pumped into the Irish Sea.

As reported in The Irish Times, Dr James Reilly echoed worries expressed by his north Dublin constituents and members of community group Reclaim Fingal Alliance, noting that the people of Skerries, Loughshinny and Rush are particularly "worried about the effects of the outfall pipe in their area".

The minister said that none of the nine sites being considered by Fingal County Council and Greater Dublin Drainage was suitable for sewerage treatment, and that any waste should be treated to "advanced levels" to make the outfall as clean as possible, thereby avoiding adverse impact on shellfish beds.

As many as 10,000 letters of objection have been lodged against the plan by campaigners including local farmers and environmentalists.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#SHIPPING - The Greek-owned cargo ship which ran aground off New Zealand three months ago - described as the country's worst maritime disaster - has split in two in heavy seas.

In a scene thankfully avoided closer to home, with the successful tranfer of 54,000 tonnes of vacuum gas oil from the damaged tanker Germar Companion in Belfast Lough, rough conditions off the New Zealand coast have caused the stern section of the Rena to snap off.

As many as 300 containers were washed overboard, polluting the water with milk powder and other debris, and fears are growing of a new oil spill in the coming days posing a threat to marine wildlife.

According to BBC News, hundreds of tonnes of fuel have spilled into the sea since the ship first ran aground at the Atrolabe Reef off North Island on 5 October, causing the deaths of hundreds of seabirds.

Though more than 1,100 tonnes of oil have been removed from the stricken vessel, some 385 tonnes remain aboard.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 46 reports of stranded whales and dolphins in Northern Ireland are among the thousands recorded across the UK over the last six years, according to BBC News.

A new study co-ordinated by the Zoological Socoety of London (ZSL) shows that some 3,500 cetaceans were stranded on the British coastline between 2005 and 2010.

Though year-on-year figures have fallen overall, is presumed that many more strandings have gone undetected.

Many were found to have died of disease or starvation – particular harbour dolphins.

But human activity such as fishing, shipping and chemical pollution also poses a significant threat to marine wildlife in the waters around the British Isles, said Rob Deaville of the ZSL.

The public is being encouraged to report stranded marine mammals to help create a more accurate picture.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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