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Major New Environmental Threat to Mayo
By Albert Alan
1, Apr 2006 - 09:21

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Did you know that there is Aluminium widespread in Mayo soils? Did you know that Aluminium is toxic? A new action group has been established to protest against the widespread occurrence of Aluminium in Mayo soils. Recent evidence has exposed the shocking fact that soils all over County Mayo actually have Aluminium in them – in some cases over 100,000 parts per million, which is many, many hundreds of times the level required by law in drinking water. The action group will initially be known as ‘Minimum Aluminium ’ or ‘MinimAl’ for short.
Campaign Logo

The MinimAl group held their first public meeting to explain the problem and garner support for their campaign against Aluminium in the soils of Mayo. The meeting was held in the new offices of "Mayo, Mayo, Mayo" the popular new local paper now distributed regularly and widely about the county from its base in Castlebar. Aluminium-free water was available for the press corps from a Ballygowan cooler in the corner of the room.

A spokesman for the protest group echoed the call for action against this impending environmental disaster. "Forget global warming," said Alfred Merck a German national who is now living in Castlebar and is now voluntarily spearheading the fledgling ‘MinimAl’ campaign, "forget radioactivity and nuclear power" he added. "The horror of Aluminium being so widespread in Mayo soils is an IMMEDIATE threat" he said, It’s here and now and it’s literally everywhere beneath you. "Radioactivity - Radon from the rocks beneath us only affects some houses in Mayo and it is very costly to find out if you are being irradiated so it’s hard to get people alarmed about it because they can’t afford the money to get the test done in order to have enough information to be really frightened. But Aluminium is in all of our soils – it’s there beneath all of our houses and roads so you have every right to be scared right now. You don’t even have to pay for a test – you can be certain that it’s there in the ground beneath you."
The Aluminium Danger is widespread around food

Questioned about the scientific evidence for this claim, the group’s scientific advisor, Professor L. Wait visiting from Canada’s University of Quebec at Montreal stated that Aluminium in soils was the main problem in Canada for a long time. "Acid rain in the northern countries has recently been brought under control now so it is now less of a problem in these countries so we are looking for the problem in other regions. No one has looked in Mayo for this problem – yet!" the Professor continued: "We know, for example, that pasture improvement – growing grass or cows in other words – accelerates acidity problems causing leaching of Aluminium. Then he made a really alarming statement: "We know that your soils are quite likely to have a mind boggling 100,000 parts per million of Aluminium in them."

Another spokeswoman, who did not want to be named, interjected that this is clearly a huge amount of dangerous Aluminium and has to be viewed extremely seriously. "We want to ban Aluminium from soil" she added "In fact we really want to ban Aluminium Altogether – so our campaign will be renamed ‘BanAl’ once we get some publicity and get people aware of the problem and beginning to become afraid of the ground beneath their feet. Then we will call for a ban on underarm deodarants which reek of aluminium - no more cans made of Aluminium with highly acidic drinks in them - no more yoghurt cartons with foil caps - no more petrol station sandwiches wrapped in Aluminium foil. But mainly we want to Ban All Aluminium in soils. The chemicAl formula for Aluminium is Al so we are adding the ‘BanAl’ slogan to our campaign.

Aluminium Containers in Widespread Use for Beverages
The Drinking Water Directive requires just 0.2 parts per million. The message is clear – 100,000 is at least two thousands of times greater than this legAl limit so you are thousands of times more at risk of aluminium poisoning if you drink soil rather than water." We must stop Aluminium leaking out from building sites where the soil is disturbed - leaking out into the air and the water. We want to know what the air quality directive says about Aluminium in air. We must stop farmers disturbing this toxic substance and ploughing it up so that it gets into our waters and aluminium dust floats up into the air.

What effect will the campaign have on development in the County? A prominent member of the group who also did not wish to be named because of his low profile job in the town, indicated that they would Also be looking at the serious matter of soil disturbance that Allowed dangerous Aluminium to escape from building sites All over the place. "We were very anxious to join up with other environmental groups in this stand against Aluminium in North Mayo", he said, "And we want our TDs to row in on this one. We need support from the general Mayo public too."

It was obvious too, they said, that one-off houses would have to be banned completely in order to stop toxic Aluminium leaking out all over the place during construction. Grassland farming – beef, milk, sheep would all have to cease because of the extremely dangerous increase in acidity associated with such activities and allowing more and more Aluminium to leach out of the toxic Mayo soils. And the dust when farmers plough their fields – imagine you are breathing in toxic Aluminium. When asked did they have a link with An Taisce the spokesman just smiled but refused to answer.

The group called for improved water treatment to remove unnecessary Aluminium from water entering treatment plants. Very few treatment plants use sufficient Epsom salts to treat drinking water to ensure that it is safe to drink. Apparently Epsom salts are used in large quantities in water treatment plants abroad to remove impurities. The crowd was really getting warmed up by now and they began chanting quietly at first from the back of the room: ‘Epsom, Epsom, Epsom Salts’! and then getting louder ‘We want MORE Epsom salts’ - they wanted Epsom salts to be used in order to clean up our waters and clean out the system – inner cleanliness is what’s required they emphasised - Epsom salts are good for purifying water.

The group finished their meeting with a rousing chant – they were really getting going by now. All good protest groups need catchy slogans like the North Mayo chant of "Shh..Hell-2-C"! Then Alfred Merck pulled out a megaphone, charged it up and began waving the campaign banner above his head swaying from side to side then putting the megaphone up to his lips out came the catchy slogans: "MinimAl!" and then "BanAl". Soon the crowd was chanting in unison: "MinimAl, MinimAl, MinimAl". Picture a huge crowd of six people chanting and swaying together (including even your intrepid report as I was myself getting quite carried away by now, caught up in the zeal of the MinimAl group). We finished up with the second campaign slogan: "BanAl" BanAl, BanAl." Ban Aluminium from all Mayo soils in other words.

The campaign leader then directed us to a bus and we drove up to the shores of Lough Lannagh for a final rally. There, a campfire was already blazing away. This is CampAl Alfred declared. We will be based here until aluminium is banned from all soils in Mayo. I could see this was going to be a long campaign. We were all getting into the protest mood by now, excited and hyped up by the stirring words of the campaign leaders all six of us got into the groove. We gathered around the campfire on the shores of Lough Lannagh Alfred pulled out a getto blaster and turned it up full volume. Led Zeppelin - what else could he play? It had to be heavy metal. Stirred by the visceral elemental music we swayed initially and then began dancing around the fire; taking our clothes off, item by item, jackets, jumpers, shirts, knickers, underpants, G-strings...the lot. Innocently without any shame or guilt we were all dancing naked around the campfire, splashing in and out of the pure waters of Lough Lannagh with gay abandon, drinking beer from cans and unwrapping the foil from a takeaway from the Chinese and removing the Glad Aluminium foil from the tasty petrol station sandwiches supplied. And it was still only 3pm in the afternoon!

So watch this space. The story of BigAl may be banAl or minimAl or even a lightweight story, but it has a long way to go in Mayo if your biggest and best newspaper – "Mayo Mayo Mayo" has anything to do with it. Don’t filter your news – just filter your water! Wear a dust mask and don’t stand on that toxic aluminium in the soil beneath you!

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