herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Plastic shards found washed up on beach a year after spillage

The 4cm plastic shards were found on Sandycove beach by local woman Margaret de Brun, who was cleaning up the area
The 4cm plastic shards were found on Sandycove beach by local woman Margaret de Brun, who was cleaning up the area

Scores of plastic shards have once again washed up on to a Dublin beach, almost a year after a substantial spillage during the redevelopment of the multimillion-euro Dun Laoghaire Baths.

During high tide on Thursday, and as Storm Lorenzo began to barrel down on the country, numerous shards were washed up on Sandycove beach.

The 4cm shards were found by local woman Margaret de Brun, who is a volunteer with a local clean-up group.

"I was down trying to clean up some of the plastics washed up on the beach and found more of the shards washed up," said Ms De Brun.

"During high tide everything and anything comes on the beach from the sea."

Incident

The incident-hit Dun Laoghaire Baths project is still on course to be completed by early next year.

The cost of the clean-up and investigation into what caused the spillage of more than a million plastic shards into Dublin Bay - at the end of last October - has been estimated to have run into hundreds of thousands of euro.

Work was halted for a number of weeks on the project following the major environmental incident, with the cost of the clean-up charged to the company involved in the €10m project.

"News of the latest number of shards washing up on the beach is really no surprise given the amount that went into the sea last year," said Fianna Fail councillor Cormac Devlin.

"I fear that more will appear on other beaches around Dublin. It is a real worry how the shards and indeed other plastics will impact on the biodiversity of Dublin Bay."

Contractor SIAC was working on the project for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council when plastic fibres washed into the sea.

SIAC/Mantovani Joint Venture are the main contractors for the construction of the project.

Shards were washed up on several beaches along the south and north of the Dublin coastline, with scores being found several weeks after the incident.

The spillage happened while workers were pouring concrete into the site.

A clean-up operation of the shards has been continuing over the past three months at the baths, which were first built in 1843.

In a statement, the council said: "There have been no underwater pours containing plastic fibres since November 2018. It is considered unlikely these plastic fibres are associated with this project.

"Regardless of their source, when the issue was raised the contractor immediately deployed men to search for any fibres. They did not recover any after a comprehensive search of the area."

Work on the project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.

In the summer, the council said there had not been any reports of plastic fibres for a number of months.

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