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Toxic bonfires should shame Orange Order

Published 27/06/2011

Youth watches a bonfire on the Shankill Road area of west Belfast, Northern Ireland
Youth watches a bonfire on the Shankill Road area of west Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Twelfth of July bonfire at Sandy Row. July 2010
The scene of destruction at East Mount in Newtowanrds
Sam White who has helped organise the eco-friendly bonfire
A young lad guards the bonfire at Avoniel
Fired up: young boys building the bonfire at Avoniel
A bonfire on Sandy Row in south Belfast.
Youths watch a bonfire in the Shankill Road area of west Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, July 12, 2007
Concerns: The controversial bonfire close to Belfast City Hospital
The controversial 40ft bonfire beside Belfast City Hospital
Craig Adams and Tracey Hammond at the bonfire on Sandy Row in south Belfast.
Children play on a bonfire at Sandy Row in Belfast city centre
A youth sits on a massive bonfire on the Newtownards Road area of east Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, July, 11, 2007. In the background is the massive cranes from Harland and Wolf shipyard which built the Titanic.
A boy jumps over a bonfire prior to a Holy Week procession, in Zunil, some 200 km northwest of Guatemala City, Thursday, March 20, 2008. Holy Week commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ culminating in his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Revellers at the bonfire on Annadale in south Belfast.
An eco-friendly beacon is replacing a huge 11th night bonfire on Roden Street this year

Like every motorist here, when I am renewing the tyres on my car, I must pay a surcharge to cover the cost of legally disposing of the old tyres. I fully approve of this and am happy to pay the charge.

What I don't understand is how, then, are there literally hundreds of discarded tyres built into one of the bonfires on the Shore Road in Belfast? Many more are sitting beside the same site, waiting to be added to the toxic pyre.

This leads me to ask some simple questions, some of which I present to the Orange Order each year. In more than 10 years of asking the same questions, I have yet to receive a single answer.

1. How are tyres, for which we have paid to be disposed of in a legal manner, ending up on bonfires?

2. What is the Government doing to enforce the law on this matter?

3. Bearing in mind that burning tyres emit highly dangerous PCBs and other carcinogenic fumes, in what way is the burning of these tyres an expression of Orange culture?

Every year the Orange Order refuses to accept any responsibility for either these vile bonfires, their subsequent clean-up, or the massive amounts of waste material that accompanies their parades.

What is the Orange Order doing to resolve this contradiction?



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