THE Department of Agriculture is investigating the repeated dumping of several agricultural syringes along our busiest tourism route – the N71 Skibbereen to Killarney road.
Just months after we first highlighted the regular dumping issue, the syringes were once more discovered littering the national primary route, just yards from a private housing estate.
Last December, The Southern Star was sent a video of the N71 near the roundabout in Skibbereen, showing several yards of footpath where syringes for injecting antibotics had been strewn – as if thrown from a moving vehicle.
Our reporter visited the scene and counted over 30 of them, discarded along the national primary route which is the main road between Skibbereen and the scenic Mizen peninsula, and the primary route to Killarney.
The reader who took the video said it was the fourth or fifth time he had seen similar waste discarded in the area, which runs alongside the scenic Ilen River and is close to a busy housing estate with young families.
In February, an environmental specialist told The Southern Star that she, too, had discovered similar syringes close to the original dumping site.
She said the dumping of the syringes close to a stream could present a serious risk to public health and lead to environmental pollution.
And she also had concerns that her dog would pick them up, chew on them, and maybe sustain an injury or illness.
Now, just a few months later, another reader has contacted us to say they found more of the same syringes, again dumped not far from the Schull Road roundabout in Skibbereen.
In December, local vet Jerry McCarthy said his practice on the nearby Marsh Rd, and most other local vets, don’t stock those syringes.
They can prescribe them, but they do not keep them in stock.
However, he said, it should be relatively simple to find the stockist, and possibly the purchaser, by cross-checking the batch numbers which are clearly marked on each syringe.
This is something the Department of Agriculture would have the authority to investigate, he said.
Following representations from The Southern Star, the Department of Agriculture this week sent an inspector to collect samples of the syringes and will now investigate their origins. They will also inspect the area where the syringes are regularl being discarded.