HEALTH HAZARDS

 

Sir, - With the tourism season already upon us, isn't it about time that the relevant authorities did something about the serious health hazards that exist on the largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor?

What the BSE scare has done to the Irish beef industry, the health scare arising out of waste disposal problems (rats, both dead and alive, smoke pollution, the danger of irreparable water pollution), could do to tourism - as well as jeopardising the islanders lives.

The permanent population of Inis Mor is around 900. During the summer months that figure can rise to more than 4,000. The disposal of the solid waste produced on the island from domestic sources is a matter of great concern. It is all dumped into a landfill site only about half a kilometre from Kilronan village.

When two geologists working for Island Trust visited the site (which is very close to a number of residences and to a salmon processing factory), they were struck by the human health implications. It was apparent that no cover material was used, and that significant quantities of highly contaminated landfill leachate was entering the groundwater body beneath the disposal facility.

It all added up to extreme dangers for people, and the likelihood of irreparable environmental damage to the island.

Does anyone care? Or will it again be a case of too little too late? - Yours, etc.,

Island Trust,

Milltown Park,

Dublin 6.