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Probe into repeated dumping of agricultural syringes on N71

December 20th, 2018 11:50 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Some of the 30+ syringes scattered along the N71.

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AGRICULTURAL syringes have been found scattered along the N71 outside Skibbereen.

A video of the discarded syringes was sent to The Southern Star by a local resident who said he had seen similar syringes along the same stretch of the Skibbereen to Schull road, on various occasions over several months.

The stretch of road, which had upwards of 30 syringes on the road’s edge and the footpath, is close to a busy housing estate with a lot of young families.

‘I have seen similar syringes there before, every five or six weeks, for the past 18 months or so,’ said the resident, who regularly walks the road in the mornings.

‘I don’t know if they are being deliberately dumped, or are falling from a passing vehicle,’ he said.

The video, which was recorded at 9.35am on Monday morning, clearly shows the syringes along the roadside and path, with a number of milking socks also discarded on the footpath.

There were also some syringes found in the undergrowth over the wall, which borders the Ilen river. 

The syringes, which do not contain ‘sharps’, are for the injection of antibiotics into cow teats for the treatment and prevention of infections, made by two different manufacturers, Norbrook and MSD. 

Local vet Jerry McCarthy said his practice on the nearby Marsh Rd, and most other local vets, don’t stock those syringes. Although they do prescribe the antibiotics, they are sold by local co-ops to the farming community.

‘In this instance, you would have to collect all the batch numbers from the syringes and then the Department has the power to get the information from the local co-op regarding who purchased those batches. They could then write to the farmers involved warning them of their obligations, or carry out an audit to check how they dispose of their waste.’

A spokesperson for Teagasc said that under the Waste Management Act, the holder of the waste is responsible for its environmentally safe management and disposal.

‘This is a case of illegal dumping and disposal of such waste from a roadway or a roadside is the responsibility of the local authority,’ he said.

He added that a recent pilot scheme – the Farm Hazardous Waste Collection Scheme – which took place earlier this year is currently being reviewed by the parties involved.

‘There are no further collections planned until the outcome of this review is completed,’ he said, but confirmed that Bandon had been a collection point for the pilot scheme.

‘It’s horrible to think that somebody would just throw these out a window which is what it looks like,’ said vet Jerry McCarthy, adding that an average 70-80 cow herd would use four of these syringes per cow, so over 300 could be used by one farmer, and then should be disposed of responsibly.

A number of visitors to the Star’s Facebook page agreed that similar waste had been spotted in the same location in recent years. ‘This isn’t new whatsoever. Has been going on for years,’ said one, while another said they had spotted theses syringes along the Schull road before.

The local litter warden was also informed of the waste and is now investigating the matter.

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