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Monday, 9th April 2018

Plastic pollution removed from beaches but bank of River Boyne remains filthy

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Some of the many  thousands of plastic items lining the banks of the River Boyne. Photo: Andy Spearman.

There was an incident of pollution over the weekend on the beaches at Termonfeckin and Baltray where plastic oil drums, fish boxes and other plastic items were washed up along stretches of the shoreline.

There’s no doubting that plastic is a very convenient packaging material but the big problem is that, although it can often be recycled, it is not biodegradable and poses a huge threat to many animal and fish species if it gets into their natural habitats.

The ever-watchful local Councillor Kevin Callan was notified of the weekend’s episode by local residents and he immediately contacted Louth County Council’s Environment and Operations sections.

He described the pollution as “outrageous” but that might have been overstating the situation somewhat as the Council dealt with the situation very well and, by lunchtime Monday, there was no sign of pollution of any kind.

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“This type of pollution and large scale dumping is simply utterly unacceptable and those who have carried it out must be followed legally by the Council” Callan said. “The risk to our wildlife from these items, in particular oil drums, needs to be pursued by the authorities” Callan said. 

“The risk is also that it may affect the River Boyne as well if these items or any like them have made it into the river channel.”

Cllr. Callan certainly has a point there– it is estimated that eight million tons of plastic waste makes its way into the world’s oceans every year, the vast bulk of it carried there by rivers.  

Leaving Termonfeckin, I drove home to Drogheda along the Baltray road and saw that the bank of the River Boyne, certainly from the turn off to Baltray Village to the Beaulieu junction, is lined with thousands and thousands of items of plastic waste and much of it looks as if its been sitting there for some time.

Perhaps the council, or some other responsible body or group of volunteers, could organise to give the place a good clean-up.

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This article was written by Andy Spearman

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