- 20 Sep 02
The Greenpeace vessel M.V. Solo is on route to Dublin. LIAM FAY reports.
FOR THE past fortnight, the Greenpeace ship, M.V. Solo, has been touring the coast of Ireland in a campaign to highlight the high level of toxic pollution perpetrated by industries based in this country.
In particular, the campaign aims to draw attention to the various forms of pollution which are strictly speaking "legal" by Irish standards but are nonetheless extremely damaging to our environment. Indeed, Greenpeace claim that Ireland has become a "haven" for industries who find the environmental legislation in their own countries inconvenient. It's no accident, for instance, that nine out of ten of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies have operations here.
"The amount of loopholes that industries who pollute can escape through is scandalous," say Greenpeace. "All companies have to apply for air and water pollution licences. If their licence is under review for any reason the practice has developed that they are not prosecuted during the appeal period for any breaches. The result is that companies constantly apply for licence reviews. Industries can refuse to release vital information about what toxins they are releasing claiming commercial secrecy. So they don't have to tell us what they are pumping out.
"Ireland does not have the technology to measure certain pollutants. The reality is most local authorities have neither the skills, equipment, money or indeed independence to monitor sophisticated industries."
The "Legal Pollution Is Not The Solution" campaign is the result of extensive research by Greenpeace on the licensing and monitoring of polluters in Ireland, and a series of regional reports have been published to coincide with the tour. To date, the M.V. Solo has visited Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Arklow and, of course, Cork where Greenpeace activists were involved in the highly-publicised protest at the Sandoz factory, a plant which has been licensed to emit the cancer-related chemical, Dioxin, from its incinerator.
The M.V. Solo reaches its final destination of Dublin's Sir John Rogerson's Quay on this coming weekend, where from July 31st to August 2nd (incl.) it will be open to the public, free of charge, from 12 am to 6pm each day.
Next issue, Hot Press talks to Ute Bellion, Greenpeace's International Chairperson.