Professor issues health warning to protest group

A university academic has warned Mallusk residents about the potential dangers of living close to a waste incinerator.

Professor Vyvyan Howard, a leading expert in toxicopathology, was speaking at last week’s meeting of the No-Arc 21 protest group - an umbrella organisation of groups opposed to the plan to build an Energy from Waste plant at Hightown Quarry.

Speaking at the meeting in the Academy Club, he said: “The main impact on health in the locality of an incinerator is likely to come from the small particles that are formed as part of the process and there is no safe exposure level to these sized particles. Incinerators cannot avoid producing aerosols of fine particles and this burden on the local ambient atmosphere is likely, in my opinion, to have chronic impact on the health of the local population.”

On Monday evening, alderman Billy Ball, who’d attended last week’s meeting, informed the council’s Environment Committee that Professor Howard had “presented some very interesting data and facts about what goes in and what comes out” of incinerators. The DUP man proposed that the committee should invite the professor to a future meeting to give them a presentation about his research.

The proposal was agreed unanimously by members.

His party colleague, meanwhile, Councillor Victor Robinson, suggested that members should visit an existing incinerator near Drogheda and talk to people there about their experiences.

He said that the waste disposal facility had been operating for several years and that “people don’t seem to have any problem with it.” Indeed, he pointed out that the operators of the facility have funded numerous community projects in the area.

The Macedon councillor said that if members wished to visit the site he could arrange it.

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