Government should abolish recycling charges, Jeremy Irons says

Actor says decision to build incinerator at Poolbeg in Dublin ‘a step back’ for the State

Actor Jeremy Irons has spoken about his involvement in the documentary ‘Trashed’ which was shown at UCC on Monday. Photograph: Blenheim Films.

Actor Jeremy Irons has spoken about his involvement in the documentary ‘Trashed’ which was shown at UCC on Monday. Photograph: Blenheim Films.

 

People should not be charged to recycle their waste but should be encouraged to reduce the amount they are sending for disposal, Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons has said.

A passionate environmentalist, Irons said the public should put pressure on the Government to abolish charges for recycling to encourage more people to better manage their waste.

“In my area of West Cork you have to pay to go into the recycling station to put recyclables there. We must encourage people to recycle, not charge them for being responsible,” he said.

“We must look at the garbage industry in this country and make a cohesive and clear policy whereby there are recycling centres all over the country.

“Only if something cannot be recycled then it should be burned .... alhough our garbage disappears on a Tuesday or whenever, believe me, it doesn’t it goes into the next generation.”

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Today with Seán O’Rourke programme, Irons told of his involvement in the documentary ‘Trashed’ which was shown at UCC on Monday.

“It is is made for cinemas - it’s been shown on TV in Italy and Argentina and Indonesia so it’s getting about and maybe one of these days it will be shown in the cinemas here in Ireland,” he said.

“These problems may be more colourful to look at in places like Indonesia or the Lebanon but we have the same problems here in Ireland.”

Irons described the building of an incinerator at Poolbeg in Ringsend, Dublin, as “a step back for the whole country”. The €600 million incinerator will have the capacity to burn 600,000 tonnes of waste a year and is expected to start operations in the second half of 2017.

“Incineration is a very dangerous way to get rid of our rubbish ... we think, ‘Burn it, lovely’ and we get free or cheap electricity but that isn’t the case because not everything is filtered,” he said.

Irons said a report published by Environment International in October 2012 found there was a statistically significant increase in cancer deaths in towns with incinerators.

He said that ‘Trashed’, in which he appears as a guide and narrator, seeks to find out what damage is caused by expousure to small concentrations of dioxins produced by incinerators.

Men absorb dioxins into their fatty tissue and can never get rid of them while women get rid of them in their breast milk when they are breast feeding their first born, he said.

Irons said he hoped a copy of ‘Trashed’ could be produced to show in schools around Ireland to help educate children about the dangers of incineration and the need for recycling.

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