Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guest Post: From the Amazon to Antrim

Contradiction is an occupational hazard for the Minister of the Environment, Edwin Poots. Responsible for the protection, conservation and promotion of the natural environment, the Minister is selective in his decisions, one minute stopping a proposal to build an incinerator on the Ballyutoag Road, near Lough Neagh, and the next minute approving an incinerator on the shores of Lough Neagh, a tourist destination in a green belt area. 

Recently the Minister appealed for information over the shocking unlawful killing of seals in Strangford Lough, however he is content to allow the destruction of marine life in Lough Neagh by water abstraction to facilitate the proposed incinerator, not to mention the destruction of the surrounding wild life habitat. No longer will the blue flash of the Kingfisher be seen along the banks of the Glenavy River as there will be nothing in the river to feed on when the water pipeline from the incinerator pumps out its sludge into the river.

In approving the Lough Neagh / Moypark incinerator, the Minister is in good company. The multi-national beef/ poultry giant, Marfrig , from Brazil, is behind the proposal to build the incinerator and has no problem in locating it on the shores of Lough Neagh. Why would Marfrig, who own Moypark, care about the destruction of the Lough and surrounding countryside when this Company has profited from dealing in cattle from illegally deforested land in the Amazon, contributing to the destruction of the rainforests. Only since Marfrig were exposed by Greenpeace in it’s report ‘Slaughtering the Amazon’ have they issued a statement undertaking not to acquire and sell cattle meat from deforested areas of the Amazon.

We should be under no illusion, Lough Neagh and its surrounding area of high scenic value hold no value for Marfrig and the Environment Minister Edwin Poots. Rather than protect, conserve and promote the Lough, Mr Poots seems to have more in common with this Brazilian beef giant than the community which lives and makes its living around the Lough Shore.

From the Amazon, where the rainforests have been sacrificed for the benefit of the beef industry, to Antrim, where the shadow of this multi-national now looms, we must secure the fate of Lough Neagh against the same threat.

Mrs Briege Mack
15 Edenturcher Road

Phone No. 02890 270682