Europe business briefs: Turkish toxic waste, Environmental napkins, Irish urban renewal, Romanian heavy metal, Tidiest town

A ship containing toxic waste sank yesterday after being moored in a Turkish harbour for four years, sparking fears among environmentalists of serious damage to local marine life. The Ulla had sat in the port of Iskenderun in southeastern Turkey since 2000 as officials tried to decide what to do about its two-tonne cargo, which Turkish media said was waste from the chimneys of thermal powers stations. Environmentalists fear the carcinogenic cargo could destroy local marine life and also enter the human food chain.

Europe's main decision-makers on agriculture and animal welfare received a table napkin message in Brussels this week. Dutch environmental organisations used donated words from Dutch writer Koos van Zomeren printed on the napkin to urge Ministers to reflect on their responsibilities, at the EU agricultural ministers' informal meeting in the Netherlands, this weekend and yesterday. Stichting Natuur en Milieu (SNM), member organisation of the European Environmental Bureau, and Dierenbescherming, member of the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare, presented the Ministers with printed napkins to allow them to consider the message that animal welfare and sustainable farming needs active involvement from governments while they ate their dinner.

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal in Ireland Noel Ahern this week opened an affordable housing development at Hamlet Lane in Balbriggan. These houses are being provided under a Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2002. This project will provide 78 affordable houses of two and three bedrooms, which will be sold for around ¬140,000 and ¬160,000 respectively. A further 59 social rented houses will also be provided through the Part V on site, in addition to houses being sold privately.

Romanian environmental officials are investigating a spill of toxic heavy metals into a river in the north of the country that reportedly caused neighboring Ukraine to cut water supplies to five towns. The spill occurred 60 miles from the border with Ukraine.

Lismore, County Waterford, was this week awarded the title of Ireland's Tidiest Town in 2004. The County Waterford town was chosen from almost 700 other competitors in this year's Tidy Town Competition to win the overall title. Other national winners included Moynalty, County Meath - Ireland's Tidiest Village, and Westport, County Mayo - Ireland's Tidiest Large Town.



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