There are numerous medical and scientific studies that show that living within 5km of a waste facility is of extreme detriment to human health.

One can only imagine what they do to the ecosystem as well. Humans are an interdependent species – we depend on the land; the land depends on us – and we want to be guardians of the land and we want our air to be safe.

This is according to Dr. Evelyn Parsons, a member of the Ballinasloe Says No group that was established to highlight the opposition by the people in the area to the construction of the Poolboy Waste Transfer Station on the outskirts of Ballinalsoe.

In recent months an application was made to Galway County Council for a waste facility permit at the station and members of Ballinasloe Says No set about garnering as much support as they could to highlight to the powers that be that they did not want a waste transfer station in their town.

They succeeded in gathering over 2,000 signatures opposed to the development and handed that into the local authority last Monday, September 23.

‘Enormous health implications’

Meanwhile, Parsons pointed to ‘particulate matter’ and how residents in the area will be subject to this if or when the facility gets the go-ahead.

We know there is a particulate matter that will be emitted from the trucks coming through our town.

She continued: “That has enormous implications on health – asthma, respiratory diseases – it’s even linked with autism, heart attacks, low birth rates and these are things that we worry about.

“Particulate matter and dust emitted from the waste transfer facility can also deposit upon the trees, leaves, shrubs, flora and fauna in the vicinity – thus interfering with the ecosystem.

“That also interferes with photosynthesis and disturbs the habitat of all the valuable animals and birds that we have – not only in the suck callows, but there is a corridor of eco bio-diversity that runs right down to the Shannon.

“It could impact on that where there is a master tourism plan, basin management and wildlife.”

‘An inappropriate location’

Parsons went on to say that the facility raised serious concerns for humans as well as for the local environment.

It’s not just about us – we are guardians of our countryside and that must be protected as well.

She added: “This is an inappropriate location for this waste transfer station; it should never be sited so close to the second-largest town in Co. Galway.

“There is a population of over 6,500 people in Ballinasloe – this site is within 2km of that.

“The roads aren’t suitable. The location isn’t suitable. The operation of it is not suitable. We are opposed to it.”

Heavy vehicles and the roads

The local doctor then pointed to how trucks coming through the town and out to this site “are a huge public risk to health and safety”.

The blind spots on those trucks mean that drivers won’t be able to see people.

Parsons continued: “Our roads are not built for vehicles this size either; light spillage from the site could result in driver distraction and road traffic accidents during the dark winter days and nights.

“It is also anticipated that just 5-10% of the waste coming to this facility will actually be from the local area.

“So, why should Ballinasloe have to take other area’s rubbish and waste material?

“Let it be dealt with in a more appropriate location – we know waste has got to be managed but it doesn’t have to be managed here in Ballinasloe.”